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Full text of "Andrew Lang's The Brown Fairy Book"

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THE FAIRY BOOK SERIES 

EDITED BY ANDREW LANG 



THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations. 
THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 101 Illustrations. 
THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. 
THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations. 
THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 
THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. 
THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 
THE RED BOOK OF ANIMAL STORIES. With 65 Il- 
lustrations. 
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. With 

66 Illustrations. 
THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 54 other Illustrations. 
THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 42 other Illustrations. 
THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 

43 other Illustrations. 
THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 50 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 44 other Illustrations. 
THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 44 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF PRINCES AND PRINCESSES. By Mrs. 

Lang. With 8 Coloured Plates and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE RED BOOK OF HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. With 

8 Coloured Plates and 40 other Illustrations. 
THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK. With 6 Coloured Plates and 

46 other Illustrations. 
THE ALL SORTS OF STORIES BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. 

With 5 Coloured Plates and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF SAINTS AND HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. 

With 12 Coloured Plates and 18 other Illustrations. 
THE STRANGE STORY BOOK. By Mrs. Lang. With 

Portrait of Andrew Lang, 12 Coloured Plates and 18 

other Illustrations. 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO., NEW YORK 



33802-1 



THE 



EDUC- 
PSYCfi 
UBRARY 



BROWN FAIRY BOOK 



EDITED BT 

ANDREW LANG 




WITH EIGHT COLOURED PLATES 
AND NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. J. iORD 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

FOURTH AVENUE AND 30TH STREET, NEW YORK 

LONDON, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA 

1914 



, K 



V^ 



■buc. 
libra m 



COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY 

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 



All rights reserved. 



First edition August, 1904. 
Reprinted July, 1908. 
Reprinted February, 1910. 
Reprinted March, 1914 



DEDICATED 



TO 



DIANA SCOTT LANG 



PREFACE 



The stories in this Fairy Book come from all quarters of 
the world. For example, the adventures of ' Ball Carrier 
and the Bad One ' are told by Red Indian grandmothers 
to Red Indian children who never go to school, nor see 
pen and ink. ' The Bunyip ' is known to even more un- 
educated little ones, running about with no clothes at 
all in the bush, in Australia. You may see photographs 
of these merry little black fellows before their troubles 
begin, in ' Northern Races of Central Australia/ by Messrs. 
Spencer and Gillen. They have no lessons except in 
tracking and catching birds, beasts, fishes, lizards, and 
snakes, all of which they eat. But when they grow up 
to be big boys and girls, they are cruelly cut about with 
stone knives and frightened with sham bogies — l all for 
their good' their parents say — and I think they would 
rather go to school, if they had their choice, and take 
their chance of being birched and bullied. However, 
many boys might think it better fun to begin to learn 
hunting as soon as they can walk. Other stories, like 
' The Sacred Milk of Koumongoe, ; come from the Kaffirs 
in Africa, whose dear papas are not so poor as those in 
Australia, but have plenty of cattle and milk, and good 
mealies to eat, and live in houses like very big bee-hives, 
and wear clothes of a sort, though not very like our own. 
' Pivi and Kabo ' is a tale from the brown people in the 
island of New Caledonia, where a boy is never allowed 
to speak to or even look at his own sisters ; nobody 

vii 



viii PREFACE 

knows why, so curious are the manners of this remote 
island. The story shows the advantages of good manners 
and pleasant behaviour ; and the natives do not now cook 
and eat each other, but live on fish, vegetables, pork, and 
chickens, and dwell in houses. ' What the Rose did to 
the Cypress/ is a story from Persia, where the people, of 
course, are civilised, and much like those of whom you read 
in ' The Arabian Nights/ Then there are tales like ' The 
Fox and the Lapp ' from the very north of Europe, where 
it is dark for half the year and daylight for the other half. 
The Lapps are a people not fond of soap and water, and 
very much given to art magic. Then there are tales from 
India, told to Major Campbell, who wrote them out, by 
Hindoos ; these stories are ' Wali Dad the Siraple-Hearted/ 
and 'The King who would be Stronger than Fate/ but 
was not so clever as his daughter. From Brazil, in South 
America, comes 'The Tortoise and the Mischievous Mon- 
key/ with the adventures of other animals. Other tales 
are told in various parts of Europe, and in many lan- 
guages; but all people, black, white, brown, red, and 
\ yellow, are like each other when they tell stories; for 
k these are meant for children, who like the same sort of 
thing, whether they go to school and wear clothes, or, on 
the other hand, wear skins of beasts, or even nothing at 
all, and live on grubs and lizards and hawks and crows 
and serpents, like the little Australian blacks. 

The tale of 'What the Eose did to the Cypress/ is 
translated out of a Persian manuscript by Mrs. Beveridge. 
' Pivi and Kabo ' is translated by the Editor from a French 
version; 'Asmund and Signy' by Miss Blackley; the 
Indian stories by Major Campbell, and all the rest are 
told by Mrs. Lang, who does not give them exactly as 
they are told by all sorts of outlandish natives, but makes 
them up in the hope white people will like them, skip- 
ping the pieces which they will not like. That is how 
this Fairy Book was made up for your entertainment. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

What the Rose did to the Cypress 1 

Ball-Carrier and the Bad One 48 

How Ball-Carrier finished his Task 59 

The Bunyip 71 

Father Grumbler 77 

The Story of the Yara 88 

The Cunning Hare 100 

The Turtle and his Bride 106 

How Geirald the Coward was Punished .... 114 

Hdbogi 126 

How the Little Brother set Free his Big Brothers • . . 134 

The Sacred Milk of Koumongoe 143 

The Wicked Wolverine 154 

The Husband of the Rat's Daughter 161 

The Mermaid and the Boy 165 

Pivi and Kabo . 183 

The Elf Maiden 190 

How Some Wild Animals became Tame Ones . . . 197 

Fortune and the Wood-Cutter 202 

The Enchanted Head 205 

ix 



x CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The Sister of the Sun 215 

The Prince and the Three Fates 233 

The Fox and the Lapp • 245 

Kisa the Cat 256 

The Lion and the Cat 263 

Which was the Foolishestf 270 

Asmund and Signy 275 

Rubezahl 283 

Story of the King who would be Stronger than Fate . . 300 
Story of Wali Dad the Simple-hearted .... 315 
Tale of a Tortoise and of a Mischievous Monkey . . . 327 
The Knights of the Fish 343 



ILL USTRA TIONS 



COLOURED PLATES 

{Engraved and printed by Messrs. Andre & Sleigh, Ltd., Bushey.) 

PAGE 

' You will have to make me your wife,' said the 

Elf Maiden (p. 193) Frontispiece- 
Prince Almas Transformed .... to face 22 
The Punishment of the Rose .... " 42 

Hdbogi's Horses 126 

' Listen ! listen ! ' said the Mermaid to the Prince 176 

The Princess and the Snake .... 240 

Riibezahl and the Princess .... M 296 

The Dragon and the Mirror .... " 346 

FULL-PAGE PLATES 



The Deer eludes Prince Tahmasp 
Mihr-afruz and Prince Tahmasp 
The Shadow in the Stream 
Chil-mdq carries off Almas . 
The Death of the Bad One 
The Witch outstrips the Wolf 
' Wake up, my grandson, it is time 
The Bunyip .... 
The Yara Defeated . 
The Little Hare is Caught . 
The Turtle Outwitted 
Geirald claims his Reward and the Queen de- 
mands another Test ...... 



to go 



home' 



2 

8 
14 
28 
54 
60 
64 
72 
94 
100 
110 

120 



XI 



Xll 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



The Jealous Sisters Spell-bound in the Ashpit . 

The Mermaid asks for the King's Child 

The Princess on the Seashore .... 

The Princess, the Red Knight, and the Lion 

Pivi dives for the Shellfish .... 

The Princess sees the Magic Head 

The Golden Hen will not be Caught. Hal 

Ha! Ha! : 

Signy at the Window ...... 

The Gnome falls in Love icith the Princess 

Wall Dad and the Peris 



to face 130 
166 
172 
180 
186 
210 



218 
278 
284 
322 



IN TEXT 

Prince Almas brings Game to the King Lion ... 27 

The Faithful Dog 39 

The Boy in the Witch's Hut 49 

The Magic Basket 79 

The Wonderful Cock 83 

The Holy Man gives the Bag to Father Grumbler . . 85 

Julia sings her Song into the Shell ..... 92 

The Girl laughs at the Army of Turtles .... 108 

* The giant will trouble you no more,' said Geirald . . 119 
Every Time a Bear was Killed his Shadow returned to the 

House of the Great Bear-Chief 135 

How the Boys were half turned into Bears . . . 138 

* Why do you give to the ogre your child, so fair, so fair?' 146 

* Bring to me Dilah, Dilah the rejected one ' . . . . 151 
All the Animals try to get the Rock off Wolverine's Legs . 155 

The Elf Maiden's House 195 

The King falls in Love with the Sister of the Sun . . 225 

The Pool in the Sand 243 

The Elves and the Bear . ■ 247 

Kisa the Cat carries off Ingibjorg's Feet from the Giant's 

Cave 260 

The Princess steals the King's Letter . . . . 311 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE 
CYPRESS 1 

Once upon a time a great king of the East, named Saman- 
lal-posh, 2 had three brave and clever sons — Tahmasp, 
Qamas, and Almas-ruh-bakhsh. 3 One day, when the king 
was sitting in his hall of audience, his eldest son, Prince 
Tahmasp, came before him, and after greeting his father 
with due respect, said : ' my royal father ! I am tired 
of the town; if you will give me leave, I will take my 
servants to-morrow and will go into the country and hunt 
on the hill-skirts ; and when I have taken some game I 
will come back, at evening-prayer time.' His father 
consented, and sent with him some of his own trusted 
servants, and also hawks, and falcons, hunting dogs, 
cheetahs and leopards. 

At the place where the prince intended to hunt he 
saw a most beautiful deer. He ordered that it should not 
be killed, but trapped or captured with a noose. The deer 
looked about for a place where he might escape from the 
ring of the beaters, and spied one unwatched close to the 
prince himself. It bounded high and leaped right over his 
head, got out of the ring, and tore like the eastern wind 
into the waste. The prince put spurs to his horse and 
pursued it ; and was soon lost to the sight of his followers. 

1 Translated from two Persian MSS. in the possession of the British 
Museum and the India Office, and adapted, with some reservations, by 
Annette S. Beveridge. 

2 Jessamine, ruby-decked. 8 Life-giving diamond. 

BR. B 



2 WHAT THE BOSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

"Until the world-lighting -sun stood above his head in the 
zenith he did not take his eyes off the deer ; suddenly it 
disappeared behind some rising ground, and with all his 
search he could not find any further trace of it. He was 
now drenched in sweat, and he breathed with pain ; and 
his horse's tongue hung from its mouth with thirst. He 
dismounted and toiled on, with bridle on arm, praying 
and casting himself on the mercy of heaven. Then his 
horse fell and surrendered its life to God. On and on he 
went across the sandy waste, weeping and with burning 
breast, till at length a hill rose into sight. He mustered 
his strength and climbed to the top, and there he found a 
giant tree whose foot kept firm the wrinkled earth, and 
whose crest touched the very heaven. Its branches had 
put forth a glory of leaves, and there were grass and a 
spring underneath it, and flowers of many colours. 

Gladdened by this sight, he dragged himself to the 
water's edge, drank his fill, and returned thanks for his 
deliverance from thirst. 

He looked about him and, to his amazement, saw close 
by a royal seat. While he was pondering what could 
have brought this into the merciless desert, a man drew 
near who was dressed like a faqir, and had bare head and 
feet, but walked with the free carriage of a person of rank. 
His face was kind, and wise and thoughtful, and he came 
on and spoke to the prince. 

' good youth ! how did you come here ? Who are 
you ? Where do you come from ? ' 

The prince told everything just as it had happened to 
him, and then respectfully added : ' I have made known 
my own circumstances to you, and now I venture to beg 
you to tell me your own. Who are you ? How did you 
come to make your dwelling in this wilderness ? ' 

To this the faqir replied : ' youth ! it would be best 
for you to have nothing to do with me and to know 
nothing of my fortunes, for my story is fit neither for 
telling nor for hearing.' The prince^ however, pleaded so 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 5 

hard to be told, that at last there was nothing to be done 
but to let him hear. 

1 Learn and know, young man ! that I am King 
Janangir 1 of Babylon, and that once I had army and 
servants, family and treasure ; untold wealth and belong- 
ings. The Most High God gave me seven sons who 
grew up well versed in all princely arts. My eldest 
son heard from travellers that in Turkistan, on the 
Chinese frontier, there is a king named Quimus, the son 
of Timus, and that he has an only child, a daughter 
named Mihr-afruz, 2 who, under all the azure heaven, is 
unrivalled for beauty. Princes come from all quarters to 
ask her hand, and on one and all she imposes a condition. 
She says to them': "I know a riddle; and I will marry 
anyone who answers it, and will bestow on him all my 
possessions. But if a suitor cannot answer my question 
I cut off his head and hang it on the battlements of the 
citadel." The riddle she asks is, " What did the rose do 
to the cypress ? " 

'Now, when my son heard this tale, he fell in love 
with that unseen girl, and he came to me lamenting and 
bewailing himself. Nothing that I could say had the 
slightest effect on him. I said : " my son ! if there 
must be fruit of this fancy of yours, I will lead forth 
a great army against King Quimus. If he will give you 
his daughter freely, well and good; and if not, I will 
ravage his kingdom and bring her away by force." This 
plan did not please him; he said : "It is not right to lay a 
kingdom waste and to destroy a palace so that I may attain 
my desire. I will go alone ; I will answer the riddle, and 
win her in this way." At last, out of pity for him, I let 
him go. He reached the city of King Quimus. He was 
asked the riddle and could not give the true answer; and 
his head was cut off and hung upon the battlements. 
Then I mourned him in black raiment for forty days. 

'After this another and another of my sons were seized 
1 World-gripper. 2 Love-enkiudler. 



6 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE GTPRESS 

by the same desire, and in the end all my seven sons 
went, and all were killed. In grief for their death I have 
abandoned my throne, and I abide here in this desert, 
withholding my hand from all State business and wearing 
myself away in sorrow/ 

Prince Tahmasp listened to this tale, and then the 
arrow of love for that unseen girl struck his heart also. 
Just at this moment of his ill-fate his people came up, 
and gathered round him like moths round a light. They 
brought him a horse, fleet as the breeze of the dawn ; he 
set his willing foot in the stirrup of safety and rode off. 
As the days went by the thorn of love rankled in his 
heart, and he became the very example of lovers, and 
grew faint and feeble. At last his confidants searched his 
heart and lifted the veil from the face of his love, and then 
set the matter before his father, King Saman-lal-posh. 
1 Your son, Prince Tahmasp, loves distractedly the Princess 
Mihr-afrtiz, daughter of King Quimus, son of Tlmus.' 
Then they told the king all about her and her doings. 
A mist of sadness clouded the king's mind, and he said 
to his son : e If this thing is so, I will in the first place 
send a courier with friendly letters to King Quimus, 
and will ask the hand of his daughter for you. I will 
send an abundance of gifts, and a string of camels laden 
with flashing stones and rubies of Badakhshan. In this 
way I will bring her and her suite, and I will give her to 
you to be your solace. But if King Quimus is unwilling 
to give her to you, I will pour a whirlwind of soldiers 
upon him, and I will bring to you, in this way, that 
most consequential of girls.' But the prince said that 
this plan would not be right, and that he would go 
himself, and would answer the riddle. Then the king's 
wise men said : 'This is a very weighty matter; it would 
be best to allow the prince to set out accompanied by 
some persons in whom you have confidence. Maybe he 
will repent and come back.' So King Saman ordered all 
preparations for the journey to be made, and then Prince 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 7 

Tahmasp took his leave and set out, accompanied by some 
of the courtiers, and taking with him a string of two- 
humped and raven-eyed camels laden with jewels, and 
gold, and costly stuffs. 

By stage after stage, and after many days' journeying, 
he arrived at the city of King Quimus. What did he 
see ? A towering citadel whose foot kept firm the wrin- 
kled earth, and whose battlements touched the blue 
heaven. He saw hanging from its battlements many 
heads, but it had not the least effect upon him that these 
were heads of men of rank ; he listened to no advice about 
laying aside his fancy, but rode up to the gate and on into 
the heart of the city. The place was so splendid that the 
eyes of the ages have never seen its like, and there, in an 
open square, he found a tent of crimson satin set up, and 
beneath it two jewelled drums with jewelled sticks. 
These drums were put there so that the suitors of the 
princess might announce their arrival by beating on them, 
after which some one would come and take them to the 
king's presence. The sight of the drums stirred the fire 
of Prince Tahmasp's love. He dismounted, and moved 
towards them ; but his companions hurried after and 
begged him first to let them go and announce him to the 
king, and said that then, when they had put their posses- 
sions in a place of security, they would enter into the 
all-important matter of the princess. The prince, how- 
ever, replied that he was there for one thing only; that 
his first duty was to beat the drums and announce him- 
self as a suitor, when he would be taken, as such, to the 
king, who would then give him proper lodgment. So he 
struck upon the drums, and at once summoned an officer 
who took him to King Quimus. 

When the king saw how very young the prince looked, 
and that he was still drinking of the fountain of wonder, 
he said : ' youth ! leave aside this fancy which my 
daughter has conceived in the pride of her beauty. No 
one can answer her riddle, and she has done to death 



8 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

many men who had had no pleasure in life nor tasted its 
charms. God forbid that your spring also should be 
ravaged by the autumn winds of martyrdom.' All his 
urgency, however, had no effect in making the prince 
withdraw. At length it was settled between them that 
three days should be given to pleasant hospitality and 
that then should follow what had to be said and done. 
Then the prince went to his own quarters and was 
treated as became his station. 

King Quimus now sent for his daughter and for her 
mother, Gulrukh, 1 and talked to them. He said to Mihr- 
afruz : ' Listen to me, you cruel flirt ! Why do you 
persist in this folly ? Now there has come to ask your 
hand a prince of the east, so handsome that the very sun 
grows modest before the splendour of his face ; he is rich, 
and he has brought gold and jewels, all for you, if you 
will marry him. A better husband you will not find.' 

But all the arguments of father and mother were 
wasted, for her only answer was : ' my father ! I have 
sworn to myself that I will not marry, even if a thousand 
years go by, unless someone answers my riddle, and that 
I will give myself to that man only who does answer it.' 

The three days passed ; then the riddle was asked : 
' What did the rose do to the cypress ? ' The prince had 
an eloquent tongue, which could split a hair, and without 
hesitation he replied to her with a verse : ' Only the Om- 
nipotent has knowledge of secrets ; if any man says, " I 
know," do not believe him. J 

Then a servant fetched in the polluted, blue-eyed 
headsmen, who asked: ' Whose sun of life has come near 
its setting ? ' took the prince by the arm, placed him upon 
the cloth of execution, and then, all merciless and stony- 
hearted, cut his head from his body and hung it on the 
battlements. 

The news of the death of Prince Tahmasp plunged 
his father into despair and stupefaction. He mourned 

1 Kose-cheek. 




; , MjFOMb' 



ffiitjwauz. &. f timet raMifisp 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 11 

for him in black raiment for forty days ; and then, a few 
days later, his second son, Prince Qamas, extracted from 
him leave to go too ; and he, also, was put to death. One 
son only now remained, the brave, eloquent, happy-na- 
tured Prince Almas-ruh-bakhsh. One day, when his 
father sat brooding over his lost children, Almas came 
before him and said : ' father mine ! the daughter of 
King Quimus has done my two brothers to death ; I wish 
to avenge them upon her.' These words brought his 
father to tears. ' light of your father ! ' he cried, ' I 
have no one left but you, and now you ask me to let you 
go to your death.' 

1 Dear father ! ' pleaded the prince, ' until I have 
lowered the pride of that beauty, and have set her here 
before you, I cannot settle down or indeed sit down off 
my feet.' 

In the end he, too, got leave to go ; but he went without 
a following and alone. Like his brothers, he made the 
long journey to the city of Quimus the son of Timus ; like 
them he saw the citadel, but he saw there the heads of 
Tahmasp and Qamas. He went about in the city, saw 
the tent and the drums, and then went out again to a 
village not far off. Here he found out a very old man 
who had a wife 120 years old, or rather more. Their 
lives were coming to their end, but they had never beheld 
face of child of their own. They were glad when the 
prince came to their house, and they dealt with him as 
with a son. He put all his belongings into their charge, and 
fastened his horse in their out-house. Then he asked 
them not to speak of him to anyone, and to keep his affairs 
secret. He exchanged his royal dress for another, and 
next morning, just as the sun looked forth from its 
eastern oratory, he went again into the city. He turned 
over in his mind without ceasing how he was to find out 
the meaning of the riddle, and to give them a right answer, 
and who could help him, and how to avenge his brothers. 
He wandered about the city, but heard nothing of service, 



12 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

for there was no one in all that land who understood 
the riddle of Princess Mihr-afruz. 

One day he thought he would go to her own palace 
and see if he could learn anything there, so he went out 
to her garden-house. It was a very splendid place, with 
a wonderful gateway, and walls like Alexander's ramparts. 
Many gate-keepers were on guard, and there was no 
chance of passing them. His heart was full of bitterness, 
but he said to himself : ' All will be well ! it is here I shall 
get what I want/ He went round outside the garden 
wall hoping to find a gap, and he made supplication in the 
Court of Supplications and prayed, '0 Holder of the hand 
of the helpless ! show me my way/ 

While he prayed he bethought himself that he could 
get into the garden with a stream of inflowing water. 
He looked carefully round, fearing to be seen, stripped, 
slid into the stream and was carried within the great 
walls. There he hid himself till his loin-cloth was dry. 
The garden was a very Eden, with running water amongst 
its lawns, with flowers and the lament of doves and 
the jug-jug of nightingales. It was a place to steal the 
senses from the brain, and he wandered about and saw the 
house, but there seemed to be no one there. In the fore- 
court was a royal seat of polished jasper, and in the middle 
of the platform was a basin of purest water that flashed 
like a mirror. He pleased himself with these sights for a 
while, and then went back to the garden and hid himself 
from the gardeners and passed the night. Next morning 
he put on the appearance of a madman and wandered 
about till he came to a lawn where several peri-faced girls 
were amusing themselves. On a throne, jewelled and 
overspread with silken stuffs, sat a girl the splendour of 
whose beauty lighted up the place, and whose ambergris 
and attar perfumed the whole air. ' That must be Mihr- 
afruz/ he thought, ' she is indeed lovely/ Just then one 
of the attendants came to the water's edge to fill a cup, 
and though the prince was in hiding, his face was re- 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 13 

fleeted in the water. When she saw this image she was 
frightened, and let her cup fall into the stream, and 
thought, l Is it an angel, or a peri, or a man ? ' Fear and 
trembling took hold of her, and she screamed as women 
scream. Then some of the other girls came and took her 
to the princess who asked : ' What is the matter, pretty 
one?' 

' princess ! I went for water, and I saw an image, 
and I was afraid.' So another girl went to the water 
and saw the same thing, and came back with the same 
story. The princess wished to see for herself ; she rose 
and paced to the spot with the march of a prancing 
peacock. When she saw the image she said to her nurse : 
'Find out who is reflected in the water, and where he 
lives.' Her words reached the prince's ear, he lifted up 
his head ; she saw him and beheld beauty such as she had 
never seen before. She lost a hundred hearts to him, and 
signed to her nurse to bring him to her presence. The 
prince let himself be persuaded to go with the nurse, but 
when the princess questioned him as to who he was and 
how he had got into her garden, he behaved like a man 
out of his mind — sometimes smiling, sometimes crying, 
and saying: 'I am hungry,' or words misplaced and 
random, civil mixed with the rude. 

1 What a pity ! ' said the princess, ' he is mad ! ' As she 
liked him she said : l He is my madman ; let no one hurt 
him.' She took him to her house and told him not to go 
away, for that she would provide for all his wants. The 
prince thought, ' It would be excellent if here, in her very 
house, I could get the answer to her riddle ; but I must be 
silent, on pain of death.' 

Now in the princess's household there was a girl 
called Dil-aram * ; she it was who had first seen the image 
of the prince. She came to love him very much, and she 
spent day and night thinking how she could make her 
affection known to him. One day she escaped from the 

1 Heartsease. 



14 WHAT THE HOSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

princess's notice and went to the prince, and laid her head 
on his feet and said : ( Heaven has bestowed on yon beauty 
and charm. Tell me your secret ; who are you, and how 
did you come here ? I love you very much, and if you 
would like to leave this place I will go with you. I have 
wealth equal to the treasure of the miserly Qarun/ But 
the prince only made answer like a man distraught, and 
told her nothing. He said to himself, ' God forbid that 
the veil should be taken in vain from my secret ; that 
would indeed disgrace me.' So, with streaming eyes and 
burning breast, Dil-arain arose and went to her house and 
lamented and fretted. 

Now whenever the princess commanded the prince's 
attendance, Dil-aram, of all the girls, paid him attention 
aod waited on him best. The princess noticed this, and 
said : ' Dil-aram ! you must take my madman into your 
charge and give him whatever he wants.' This was the 
very thing Dil-aram had prayed for. A little later she 
took the prince into a private place and she made him 
take an oath of secrecy, and she herself took one and swore, 
1 By Heaven ! I will not tell your secret. Tell me all 
about yourself so that I may help you to get what you 
want.' The prince now recognised in her words the per- 
fume of true love, and he made compact with her. ' 
lovely girl ! I want to know what the rose did to the 
cypress. Your mistress cuts off men's heads because of 
this riddle ; what is at the bottom of it, and why does she 
do it ? ' Then Dil-aram answered : ' If you will promise 
to marry me and to keep me always amongst those you 
favour, I will tell you all I know, and I will keep watch 
about the riddle.' 

'0 lovely girl,' rejoioed he, 'if I accomplish my pur- 
pose, so that I need no longer strive for it, I will keep my 
compact with you. When I have this woman in my 
power and have avenged my brothers, I will make you 
my solace.' 

' wealth of my life and source of my joy ! ' responded 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 17 

Dil-arani, ' I do not know what the rose did to the cypress ; 
but so much I know that the person who told Mihr-afruz 
about it is a negro whom she hides under her throne. 
He fled here from Waq of the Caucasus — it is there you 
must make inquiry ; there is no other way of getting at 
the truth/ On hearing these words, the prince said to 
his heart, ( my heart ! your task will yet wear away 
much of your life.' 

He fell into long and far thought, and Dil-aram looked 
at him and said : ' my life and my soul ! do not be sad. 
If you would like this woman killed, I will put poison 
into her cup so that she will never lift her head from her 
drugged sleep again/ 

1 Dil-aram ! such a vengeance is not manly. I shall 
not rest till I have gone to Waq of the Caucasus and have 
cleared up the matter/ Then they repeated the agree- 
ment about their marriage, and bade one another good- 
bye. 

The prince now went back to the village, and told the 
old man that he was setting out on a long journey, and 
begged him not to be anxious, and to keep safe the goods 
which had been entrusted to him. 

The prince had not the least knowledge of the way to 
Waq of the Caucasus, and was cast down by the sense of 
his helplessness. He was walking along by his horse's 
side when there appeared before him an old man of serene 
countenance, dressed in green and carrying a staff, who 
resembled Khizr. 1 The prince thanked heaven, laid the 
hands of reverence on his breast and salaamed. The old 
man returned the greeting graciously, and asked : ' How 
fare you? Whither are you bound? You look like a 
traveller.' 

'0 revered saint ! I am in this difficulty : I do not 
know the way to Waq of the Caucasus/ The old man 
of good counsel looked at the young prince and said : 
* Turn back from this dangerous undertaking. Do not go ; 

i Elias. 

BR. C 



18 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

choose some other task ! If you had a hundred lives you 
would not bring one out safe from this journey/ But his 
words had no effect on the prince's resolve. * What 
object have you/ the old man asked, ' in thus consuming 
your life ? ' 

1 I have an important piece of business to do, and only 
bhis journey makes it possible. I must go; I pray you, 
in God's name, tell me the way.' 

When the saint saw that the prince was not to be 
moved, he said : ' Learn and know, youth ! that Waq of 
Qaf is in the Caucasus and is a dependency of it. In it 
there are jins, demons, and peris. You must go on along 
this road till it forks into three*; take neither the right- 
hand nor the left, but the middle path. Follow this for 
a day and a night. Then you will come to a column on 
which is a marble slab inscribed with Cufic characters. 
Do what is written there ; beware of disobedience.' 
Then he gave his good wishes for the journey and his 
blessing, and the prince kissed his feet, said good-bye, 
and, with thanks to the Causer of Causes, took the 
road. 

After a day and a night he saw the column rise in 
silent beauty to the heavens. Everything was as the wise 
old man had said it would be, and the prince, who was 
skilled in all tongues, read the following Cufic inscription : 
1 travellers ! be it known to you that this column has 
been set up with its tablet to give true directions about 
these roads. If a man would- pass his life in ease and 
pleasantness, let him take the right-hand path. If he 
take the left, he will have some trouble, but he will reach 
his goal without much delay. Woe to him who chooses 
the middle path ! if he had a thousand lives he would not 
save one ; it is very hazardous ; it leads to the Caucasus, 
and is an endless road. Beware of it ! ' 

The prince read and bared his head and lifted his 
hands in supplication to Him who has no needs, and 
prayed, ' Friend of the traveller ! I, Thy servant, come 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 19 

to Thee for succour. My purpose lies in the land of Qaf 
and my road is full of peril. Lead me by it. 5 Then he 
took a handful of earth and cast it on his collar, and said : 
1 earth ! be thou my grave ; and vest ! be thou my 
winding-sheet ! ' Then he took the middle road and went 
along it, day after day, with many a silent prayer, till he 
saw trees rise from the weary waste of sand. They grew 
in a garden, and he went up to the gate and found it a 
slab of beautifully worked marble, and that near it there 
lay sleeping, with his head on a stone, a negro whose 
face was so black that it made darkness round him. His 
upper lip, arched like an eyebrow, curved upwards to his 
nostrils and his lower hung down like a camel's. Four 
millstones formed his shield, and on a box-tree close by 
hung his giant sword. His loin-cloth was fashioned of 
twelve skins of beasts, and was bound round his waist 
by a chain of which each link was as big as an elephant's 
thigh. 

The prince approached and tied up his horse near 
the negro's head. Then he let fall the Bismillah from his 
lips, entered the garden and walked through it till he 
came to the private part, delighting in the great trees, the 
lovely verdure, and the flowery borders. In the inner 
garden there were very many deer. These signed to him 
with eye and foot to go back, for that this was enchanted 
ground; but he did not understand them, and thought 
their pretty gestures were a welcome. After a while he 
reached a palace which had a porch more splendid than 
Caesar's, and was built of gold and silver bricks. In its 
midst was a high seat, overlaid with fine carpets, and 
into it opened eight doors, each having opposite to it a 
marble basin. 

Banishing care, Prince Almas walked on through the 
garden, when suddenly a window opened and a girl put 
out her head who was lovely enough to make the moon 
writhe with jealousy. She lost her heart to the good 
looks of the prince, and sent her nurse to fetch him so 

c2 



20 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

that she might learn where he came from and how he had 
got into her private garden where even lions and wolves 
did not venture. The nurse went, and was struck with 
amazement at the sun-like radiance of his face ; she sa- 
laamed and said : ' youth ! welcome ! the lady of the 
garden calls you ; come ! } He went with her and into a 
palace which was like a house in Paradise, and saw seated 
on the royal carpets of the throne a girl whose brilliance 
shamed the shining sun. He salaamed; she rose, took 
him by the hand and placed him near her. * young man ! 
who are you ? where do you come from ? How did you 
get into this garden ? ' He told her his story from be- 
ginning to end, and Lady Latif a * replied : ' This is folly ! 
It will make you a vagabond of the earth, and lead you to 
destruction. Come, cease such talk ! No one can go to 
the Caucasus. Stay with me and be thankful, for here 
is a throne which you can share with me, and in my 
society you can enjoy my wealth. I will do whatever you 
wish ; I will bring here King Quimtis and his daughter, 
and you can deal with them as you will/ 

' Lady Latif a/ he said, ' I have made a compact with 
heaven not to sit down off my feet till I have been to 
Waq of Qaf and have cleared up this matter, and have 
taken Mihr-afruz from her father, as brave men take, and 
have put her in prison. When I have done all this I will 
come back to you in state and with a great following, and 
I will marry you according to the law.' Lady Latifa 
argued and urged her wishes, but in vain ; the prince 
was not to be moved. Then she called to the cupbearers 
for new wine, for she thought that when his head was hot 
with it he might consent to stay. The pure, clear wine 
was brought ; she filled a cup and gave to him. He said : 
1 most enchanting sweetheart ! it is the rule for the host 
to drink first and then the guest/ So to make him lose 
his head, she drained the cup ; then filled it again and 
gave him. He drank it off, and she took a lute from one 

1 Pleasure. 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 21 

of the singers and played upon it with skill which witched 
away the sense of all who heard. But it was all in vain ; 
three days passed in such festivities, and on the fourth 
the prince said : ' joy of my eyes ! I beg now that you 
will bid me farewell, for my way is long and the fire of 
your love darts flame into the harvest of my heart. By 
heaven's grace I may accomplish my purpose, and, if so, 
I will come back to you. 7 

Now she saw that she could not in any way change 
his resolve, she told her nurse to bring a certain casket 
which contained, she said, something exhilarating which 
would help the prince on his journey. The box was 
brought, and she divided off a portion of what was within 
and gave it to the prince to eat. Then, and while he was 
all unaware, she put forth her hand to a stick fashioned 
like a snake ; she said some words over it and struck him 
so sharply on the shoulder that he cried out ; then he 
made a pirouette and found that he was a deer. 

When he knew what had been done to him he 
thought, 'All the threads of affliction are gathered to- 
gether ; I have lost my last chance ! ' He tried to escape, 
but the magician sent for her goldsmith, who, coming, 
overlaid the deer-horns with gold and jewels. The 
kerchief which that day she had had in her hand 
was then tied round its neck, and this freed it from her 
attentions. 

The prince-deer now bounded into the garden and at 
once sought some way of escape. It found none, and it 
joined the other deer, which soon made it their leader. 
Now, although the prince had been transformed into the 
form of a deer, he kept his man's heart and mind. He 
said to himself, e Thank heaven that the Lady Latifa has 
changed me into this shape, for at least deer are beautiful.' 
He remained for some time living as a deer amongst the 
rest, but at length resolved that an end to such a life 
must be put in some way. He looked again for some 
place by which he could get out of the magic garden. 



22 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

Following round the wall he reached a lower part; he 
remembered the Divine Names and flung himself over, 
saying, ' Whatever happens is by the will of God.' When 
he looked about he found that he was in the very same 
place he had jumped from ; there was the palace, there 
the garden and the deer! Eight times he leaped over 
the wall and eight times found himself where he had 
started from ; but after the ninth leap there was a change, 
there was a palace and there was a garden, but the deer 
were gone. 

Presently a girl of such moon-like beauty opened a 
window that the prince lost to her a hundred hearts. She 
was delighted with the beautiful deer, and cried to her 
nurse : l Catch it ! if you will I will give you this necklace, 
every pearl of which is worth a kingdom/ The nurse 
coveted the pearls, but as she was three hundred years 
old she did not know how she could catch a deer. 
However, she went down into the garden and held out 
some grass, but when she went near the creature ran 
away. The girl watched with great excitement from the 
palace window, and called : ' nurse, if you don't catch it, 
I will kill you ! ' ' I am killing myself/ shouted back the 
old woman. The girl saw that nurse tottering along and 
went down to help, marching with the gait of a prancing 
peacock. When she saw the gilded horns and the ker- 
chief she said: 'It must be accustomed to the hand, and 
be some royal pet ! ' The prince had it in mind that this 
might be another magician who could give him some 
other shape, but still it seemed best to allow himself to 
be caught. So he played about the girl and let her catch 
him by the neck. A leash was brought, fruits were given, 
and it was caressed with delight. It was taken to the 
palace and tied at the foot of the Lady Jamila's raised 
seat, but she ordered a longer cord to be brought so that 
it might be able to jump up beside her. 

When the nurse went to fix the cord she saw tears 
falling from its eyes, and that it was dejected and 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 23 

sorrowful. *0 Lady Jamila! this is a wonderful deer, 
it is crying ; I never saw a deer cry before/ Jamila 
darted down like a flash of lightning, and saw that it 
was so. It rubbed its head on her feet and then shook 
it so sadly that the girl cried for sympathy. She 
patted it and said : ' Why are you sad, my heart ? 
Why do you cry, my soul ? Is it because I have caught 
you ? I love you better than my own life.' But, spite 
of her comforting, it cried the more. Then Jamila said : 
1 Unless I am mistaken, this is the work of my wicked 
sister Latifa, who by magic art turns servants of God into 
beasts of the field/ At these words the deer uttered 
sounds, and laid its head on her feet. Then Jamila was 
sure it was a man, and said : ' Be comforted, I will restore 
you to your own shape/ She bathed herself and ordered 
the deer to be bathed, put on clean raiment, called for 
a box which stood in an alcove, opened it and gave a 
portion of what was in it to the deer to eat. Then she 
slipped her hand under her carpet and produced a stick 
to which she said something. She struck the deer hard, 
it pirouetted and became Prince Almas. 

The broidered kerchief and the jewels lay upon the 
ground. The prince prostrated himself in thanks to 
heaven and Jamila, and said : ' delicious person ! 
Chinese Venus ! how shall I excuse myself for giving 
you so much trouble ? With what words can I thank 
you ? ' Then she called for a clothes-wallet and chose 
out a royal dress of honour. Her attendants dressed him 
in it, and brought him again before the tender-hearted 
lady. She turned to him a hundred hearts, took his hand 
and seated him beside her, and said : ' youth ! tell me 
truly who you are and where you come from, and how 
you fell into the power of my sister/ 

Even when he was a deer the prince had much 
admired Jamila; now he thought her a thousand times 
more lovely than before. He judged that in truth alone 
was safety, and so told her his whole story. Then she 



24 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

asked : 1 Prince Almas-ruh-bakhsh, do you still wish so 
much to make this journey to Waq of Qaf ? What hope is 
there in it ? The road is dangerous even near here, and 
this is not yet the borderland of the Caucasus. Come, 
give it up ! It is a great risk, and to go is not wise. It 
would be a pity for a man like you to fall into the hands 
of jins and demons. Stay with me, and I will do what- 
ever you wish/ 

'0 most delicious person!' he answered, 'you are 
very generous, and the choice of my life lies in truth in 
your hands ; but I beg one favour of you. If you love me, 
so do I too love you. If you really love me, do not forbid 
me to make this journey, but help me as far as you can. 
Then it may be that I shall succeed, and if I return with 
my purpose fufilled I will marry you according to the 
law, and take you to my own country, and we will spend 
the rest of our lives together in pleasure and good com- 
panionship. Help me, if you can, and give me your 
counsel.' 

( very stuff of my life,' replied Jamlla, ' I will give 
you things that are not in kings' treasuries, and which will 
be of the greatest use to you. First, there are the bow 
and arrows of his Reverence the Prophet Salih. Secondly, 
there is the Scorpion of Solomon (on whom be peace), 
which is a sword such as no king has ; steel and stone are 
one to it ; if you bring it down on a rock it will not be 
injured, and it will cleave whatever you strike. Thirdly, 
there is the dagger which the sage Timus himself made ; 
this is most useful, and the man who wears it would not 
bend under seven camels' loads. What you have to do 
first is to get to the home of the Slmurgh, 1 and to make 
friends with him. If he favours you, he will take you to 
Waq of Qaf; if not, you will never get there, for seven 
seas are on the way, and they are such seas that if all the 
kings of the earth, and all their vazlrs, and all their wise 

1 Thirty-birds. 



WHAT THE HOSE DID TO THE CYPBESS 25 

men considered for a thousand years, they would not be 
able to cross them/ 

1 most delicious person ! where is the Simurgh's 
home ? How shall I get there ? ' 

1 new fruit of life ! you must just do what I tell you, 
and you must use your eyes and your brains, for if you 
don't you will find yourself at the place of the negroes, 
who are a blood-thirsty set ; and God forbid they should 
lay hands on your precious person.' 

Then she took the bow and quiver of arrows, the 
sword, and the dagger out of a box, and the prince let fall 
a Bismillah. and girt them all on. Then Jamila of the 
houri-face produced two saddle-bags of ruby-red silk, one 
filled with roasted fowl and little cakes, and the other with 
stones of price. Next she gave him a horse as swift as 
the breeze of the morning, and she said : ' Accept all these 
things from me ; ride till you come to a rising ground, 
at no great distance from here, where there is a spring. 
It is called the Place of Gifts, and you must stay there 
one night. There you will see many wild beasts — lions, 
tigers, leopards, apes, and so on. Before you get there 
you must capture some game. On the long road beyond 
there dwells a lion king, and if other beasts did not 
fear him they would ravage the whole country and let no 
one pass. The lion is a red transgressor, so when he comes 
rise and do him reverence ; take a cloth and rub the dust 
and earth from his face, then set the game you have taken 
before him, well cleansed, and lay the hands of respect on 
your breast. When he wishes to eat, take your knife and 
cut pieces of the meat and set them before him with a bow. 
In this way you will enfold that lion king in perfect friend- 
ship, and he will be most useful to you, and you will be 
safe from molestation by the negroes. When you go on 
from the Place of Gifts, be sure you do not take the right- 
hand road ; take the left, for the other leads by the negro 
castle, which is known as the Place of Clashing Swords, 
and where there are forty negro captains each over three 



26 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

thousand or four thousand more. Their chief is Taram- 
taq. 1 Further on than this is the home of the Simurgh.' 

Having stored these things in the prince's memory, 
she said : ' You will see everything happen just as I have 
said/ Then she escorted him a little way ; they parted, 
and she went home to mourn his absence. 

Prince Almas, relying on the Causer of Causes, rode on 
to the Place of Gifts and dismounted at the platform. 
Everything happened just as Jainila had foretold ; when 
one or two watches of the night had passed, he saw that 
the open ground around him was full of such stately and 
splendid animals as he had never seen before. By-and-by, 
they made way for a wonderfully big lion, which was 
eighty yards from nose to tail-tip, and was a magnificent 
creature. The prince advanced and saluted it ; it proudly 
drooped its head and forelocks and paced to the platform. 
Seventy or eighty others were with it, and now encircled 
it at a little distance. It laid its right paw over its left, 
and the prince took the kerchief Jamila had given him 
for the purpose, and rubbed the dust and earth from its 
face ; then brought forward the game he had prepared, 
and crossing his hands respectfully on his breast stood 
waiting before it. When it wished for food he cut off 
pieces of the meat and put them in its mouth. The 
serving lions also came near and the prince would have 
stayed his hand, but the king-lion signed to him to feed 
them too. This he did, laying the meat on the platform. 
Then the king-lion beckoned the prince to come near and 
said : ' Sleep at ease ; my guards will watch.' So, sur- 
rounded by the lion-guard, he slept till dawn, when the 
king-lion said good-bye, and gave him a few of his own 
hairs and said : * When you are in any difficulty, burn one of 
these and I will be there.' Then it went off into the jungle. 

Prince Almas immediately started; he rode till he 
came to the parting of the ways. He remembered quite 
well that the right-hand way was short and dangerous, 

1 Pomp and Pride. 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 27 

but he bethought himself too that whatever was written 
on his forehead would happen, and took the forbidden 




HrLNClHl.KA5 BK1NQS 

qame. to theH^ ng H 10N 



road. By-and-by he saw a castle, and knew from what 
Jamlla had told him that it was the Place of Clashing 



28 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

Swords. He would have liked to go back by the way he 
had come, but courage forbade, and he said, 'What 
has been preordained from eternity will happen to me/ 
and went on towards the castle. He was thinking 
of tying his horse to a tree which grew near the gate 
when a negro came out and spied him. < Ha ! ' said the 
wretch to himself, ' this is good ; Taram-taq has not eaten 
man-meat for a long time, and is craving for some. I 
will take this creature to him.' He took hold of the 
prince's reins, and said : ' Dismount, man-child ! Come 
to my master. He has wanted to eat man-meat this long 
time back.' ' What nonsense are you saying ? ' said the 
prince, and other such words. When the negro under- 
stood that he was being abused, he cried : ' Come along ! 

I will put you into such a state that the birds of the air 
will weep for you.' Then the prince drew the Scorpion 
of Solomon and struck him — struck him on the leathern 
belt and shore him through so that the sword came out on 
the other side. He stood upright for a little while, 
muttered some words, put out his hand to seize the prince, 
then fell in two and surrendered his life. 

There was water close at hand, and the prince made 
his ablution, and then said : ' my heart ! a wonderful 
task lies upon you.' A second negro came out of the fort, 
and seeing what had been done, went back and told his 
chief. Others wished to be doubled, and went out, and of 
everyone the Scorpion of Solomon made two. Then 
Taram-taq sent for a giant negro named Chil-maq, who in 
the day of battle was worth three hundred, and said to him : 

I I shall thank you to fetch me that man.' 

Chil-maq went out, tall as a tower, and bearing a shield 
of eight millstones, and as he walked he shouted : ' Ho ! 
blunder-head ! by what right do you come to our country 
and kill our people ? Come ! make two of me.' As the 
prince was despicable in his eyes, he tossed aside his club 
and rushed to grip him with his hands. He caught him 
by the collar, tucked him under his arm and set off with 




^P^p <^rx<ify 






WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE 0YP11ESS 31 

him to Taram-taq. But the prince drew the dagger of 
Timus and thrust it upwards through the giant's armpit, 
for its full length. This made Chil-maq drop him and 
try to pick up his club ; but when he stooped the mighty 
sword shore him through at the waist. 

When news of his champion's death reached Taram-taq 
he put himself at the head of an army of his negroes and 
led them forth. Many fell before the magic sword, and 
the prince laboured on in spite of weakness and fatigue 
till he was almost worn out. In a moment of respite 
from attack he struck his fire-steel and burned a hair of 
the king-lion; and he had just succeeded in this when 
the negroes charged again and all but took him prisoner. 
Suddenly from behind the distant veil of the desert 
appeared an army of lions led by their king. 'What 
brings these scourges of heaven here ? ' cried the negroes. 
They came roaring up, and put fresh life into the prince. 
He fought on, and when he struck on a belt the wearer 
fell in two, and when on a head he cleft to the waist. 
Then the ten thousand mighty lions joined the fray and 
tore in pieces man and horse. 

Taram-taq was left alone ; he would have retired into 
his fort, but the prince shouted : ' Whither away, accursed 
one ? Are you fleeing before me ?' At these defiant 
words the chief shouted back, ' Welcome, man ! Come 
here and I will soften you to wax beneath my club.' 
Then he hurled his club at the prince's head, but it fell 
harmless because the prince had quickly spurred his 
horse forward. The chief, believing he had hit him, was 
looking down for him, when all at once he came up 
behind and cleft him to the waist and sent him straight 
to hell. 

The king-lion greatly praised the dashing courage of 
Prince Almas. They went together into the Castle of 
Clashing Swords and found it adorned and fitted in 
princely fashion. In it was a daughter of Taram-taq, 
still a child. She sent a message to Prince Almas saying, 



32 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

{ king of the world ! choose this slave to be your hand- 
maid. Keep her with yon ; where you go, there she will 
go ! ' He sent for her and she kissed his feet and received 
the Mussulman faith at his hands. He told her he was 
going a long journey on important business, and that 
when he came back he would take her and her possessions 
to his own country, but that for the present she mnst stay 
in the castle. Then he made over the fort and all that 
was in it to the care of the lion, saying : ' Guard them, 
brother ! let no one lay a hand on them/ He said good- 
bye, chose a fresh horse from the chief's stable and once 
again took the road. 

After travelling many stages and for many days, he 
reached a plain of marvellous beauty and refreshment. 
It was carpeted with flowers — roses, tulips, and clover ; 
it had lovely lawns, and amongst them running water. 
This choicest place of earth filled him with wonder. 
There was a tree such as he had never seen before ; its 
branches were alike, but it bore flowers and fruit of a 
thousand kinds. Near it a reservoir had been fashioned 
of four sorts of stone — touchstone, pure stone, marble, 
and loadstone. In and out of it flowed water like attar. 
The prince felt sure this must be the place of the 
Simurgh ; he dismounted, turned his horse loose to graze, 
ate some of the food Jamlla had given him, drank of the 
stream and lay down to sleep. 

He was still dozing when he was aroused by the 
neighing and pawing of his horse. When he could see 
clearly he made out a mountain-like dragon whose heavy 
breast crushed the stones beneath it into putty. He 
remembered the Thousand Names of God and took the 
bow of Salih from its case and three arrows from their 
quiver. He bound the dagger of Timus firmly to his 
waist and hung the Scorpion of Solomon round his neck. 
Then he set an arrow on the string and released it with 
such force that it went in at the monster's eye right up 
to the notch. The dragon writhed on itself, and belched 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 33 

forth an evil vapour, and beat the ground with its head 
till the earth quaked. Then the prince took a second 
arrow and shot into its throat. It drew in its breath and 
would have sucked the prince into its maw, but when he 
was within striking distance he drew his sword and, 
having committed himself to God, struck a mighty blow 
which cut the creature's neck down to the gullet. The 
foul vapour of the beast and horror at its strangeness 
now overcame the prince, and he fainted. When he came 
to himself he found that he was drenched in the gore 
of the dead monster. He rose and thanked God for his 
deliverance. 

The nest of the Simurgh was in the wonderful tree 
above him, and in it were young birds ; the parents were 
away searching for food. They always told the children, 
before they left them, not to put their heads out of the 
nest; but, to-day, at the noise of the fight below, they 
looked down and so saw the whole affair. By the time 
the dragon had been killed they were very hungry and 
set up a clamour for food. The prince therefore cut up 
the dragon and fed them with it, bit by bit, till they had 
eaten the whole. He then washed himself and lay down 
to rest, and he was still asleep when the Simurgh came 
home. As a rule, the young birds raised a clamour of 
welcome when their parents came near, but on this day 
they were so full of dragon-meat that they had no choice, 
they had to go to sleep. 

As they flew nearer, the old birds saw the prince lying 
under the tree and no sign of life in the nest. They 
thought that the misfortune which for so many earlier 
years had befallen them had again happened and that 
their nestlings had disappeared. They had never been 
able to find out the murderer, and now suspected the 
prince. ' He has eaten our children and sleeps after it ; 
he must die,' said the father-bird, and flew back to the 
hills and clawed up a huge stone which he meant to let 
fall on the prince's head. But his mate said, 'Let us 



34 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

look into the nest first, for to kill an innocent person 
would condemn us at the Day of Besurrection.' They 
flew nearer, and presently the young birds woke and 
cried, ' Mother, what have you brought for us ? ' and they 
told the whole story of the fight, and of how they were 
alive only by the favour of the young man under the tree, 
and of his cutting up the dragon and of their eating 
it. The mother-bird then remarked, c Truly, father ! you 
were about to do a strange thing, and a terrible sin has 
been averted from you.' Then the Simurgh flew off to a 
distance with the great stone and dropped it. It sank 
down to the very middle of the earth. 

Coming back, the Simurgh saw that a little sunshine 
fell upon the prince through the leaves, and it spread its 
wings and shaded him till he woke. When he got up he 
salaamed to it, who returned his greeting with joy and 
gratitude, and caressed him and said : ' youth, tell me 
true ! who are you, and where are you going ? And how 
did you cross that pitiless desert where never yet foot of 
man had trod ? ' The prince told his story from beginning 
to end, and finished by saying : c Now it is my heart's wish 
that you should help me to get to Waq of the Caucasus. 
Perhaps, by your favour, I shall accomplish my task and 
avenge my brothers/ In reply the Simurgh first blessed 
the deliverer of his children, and then went on : 'What you 
have done no child of man has ever done before; you 
assuredly have a claim on all my help, for every year up 
till now that dragon has come here and has destroyed my 
nestlings, and I have never been able to find who was the 
murderer and to avenge myself. By God's grace you 
have removed my children's powerful foe. I regard 
you as a child of my own. Stay with me ; I will give you 
everything you desire, and I will establish a city here for 
you, and will furnish it with every requisite ; I will give 
you the land of the Caucasus, and will make its princes 
subject to you. Give up the journey to Waq, it is full of 
risk, and the jins there will certainly kill you.' But 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 35 

nothing could move the prince, and seeing this the bird 
went on : ' Well, so be it ! When you wish to set forth 
you must go into the plain and take seven head of deer, 
and must make water-tight bags of their hides and keep 
their flesh in seven portions. Seven seas lie on our way 
— I will carry you over them ; but if I have not food 
and drink we shall fall into the sea and be drowned. 
When I ask for it you must put food and water into my 
mouth. So we shall make the journey safely.' 

The prince did all as he was told, then they took 
flight ; they crossed the seven seas, and at each one the 
prince fed the Slmurgh. When they alighted on the 
shore of the last sea, it said : ' O my son ! there lies your 
road ; follow it to the city. Take thee three feathers of 
mine, and, if you are in a difficulty, burn one and I will 
be with you in the twinkling of an eye.' 

The prince walked on in solitude till he reached the 
city. He went in and wandered about through all 
quarters, and through bazaars and lanes and squares, 
not in the least knowing from whom he could ask in- 
formation about the riddle of Mihr-afruz. He spent 
seven days thinking it over in silence. From the first 
day of his coming he had made friends with a young 
cloth-merchant, and a great liking had sprung up between 
them. One day he said abruptly to his companion : ( O 
dear friend ! I wish you would tell me what the rose did 
to the cypress, and what the sense of the riddle is.' The 
merchant started, and exclaimed: 'If there were not 
brotherly affection between us, I would cut off your head 
for asking me this ! ' i If you meant to kill me/ retorted 
the prince, ' you would still have first to tell me what I 
want to know.' When the merchant saw that the prince 
was in deadly earnest, he said: 'If you wish to hear the 
truth of the matter you must wait upon our king. There 
is no other way ; no one else will tell you. I have a 
well-wisher at the Court, named Farrukh-fal, 1 and will 

1 Of happy omen. 

d2 



36 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

introduce you to him.' ' That would be excellent/ cried 
the prince. A meeting was arranged between Farrukh- 
fal and Almas, and then the amir took him to the king's 
presence and introduced him as a stranger and traveller 
who had come from afar to sit in the shadow of King 
Sinaubar. 

Now the Simurgh had given the prince a diamond 
weighing thirty misqals, and he offered this to the king, 
who at once recognised its value, and asked where it had 
been obtained. ' I, your slave, once had riches and state 
and power ; there are many such stones in my country. 
On my way here I was plundered at the Castle of Clash- 
ing Swords, and I saved this one thing only, hidden in my 
bathing-cloth.' In return for the diamond, King Sinaubar 
showered gifts of much greater value, for he remembered 
that it was the last possession of the prince. He showed 
the utmost kindness and hospitality, and gave his vazir 
orders to instal the prince in the royal guest-house. He 
took much pleasure in his visitor's society; they were 
together every day and spent the time most pleasantly. 
Several times the king said : * Ask me for something, that 
I may give it you.' One day he so pressed to know what 
would pleasure the prince, that the latter said : c I have 
only one wish, and that I will name to you in private.' 
The king at once commanded everyone to withdraw, and 
then Prince Almas said : ' The desire of my life is to know 
what the rose did to the cypress, and what meaning there 
is in the words.' The king was astounded. ' In God's 
name ! if anyone else had said that to me I should have 
cut off his head instantly.' The prince heard this in 
silence, and presently so beguiled the king with pleasant 
talk that to kill him was impossible. 

Time flew by, the king again and again begged the 
prince to ask some gift of him, and always received this 
same reply: ' I wish for your Majesty's welfare, what more 
can I desire ? ' One night there was a banquet, and cup- 
bearers carried round gold and silver cups of sparkling 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 37 

wine, and singers with sweetest voices contended for 
the prize. The prince drank from the king's own cup, 
and when his head was hot with wine he took a lute from 
one of the musicians and placed himself on the carpet- 
border and sang and sang till he witched away the sense 
of all who listened. Applause and compliments rang 
from every side. The king filled his cup and called the 
prince and gave it him and said : ' Name your wish ! it is 
yours.' The prince drained off the wine and answered : 
i king of the world ! learn and know that I have only one 
aim in life, and this is to know what the rose did to the 
cypress.' 

' Never yet/ replied the king, t has any man come out 
from that question alive. If this is your only wish, so be 
it ; I will tell you. But I will do this on one condition 
only, namely, that when you have heard you will submit 
yourself to death.' To this the prince agreed, and said : ' I 
set my foot firmly on this compact.' 

The king then gave an order to an attendant ; a costly 
carpet overlaid with European velvet was placed near 
him, and a dog was led in by a golden and jewelled chain 
and set upon the splendid stuffs. A band of fair girls 
came in and stood round it in waiting. 

Then, with ill words, twelve negroes dragged in a 
lovely woman, fettered on hands and feet and meanly 
dressed, and they set her down on the bare floor. She 
was extraordinarily beautiful, and shamed the glorious 
sun. The king ordered a hundred stripes to be laid on 
her tender body ; she sighed a long sigh. Food was 
called for and table-cloths were spread. Delicate meats 
were set before the dog, and water given it in a royal cup 
of Chinese crystal. When it had eaten its fill, its leavings 
were placed before the lovely woman and she was made 
to eat of them. She wept and her tears were pearls ; she 
smiled and her lips shed roses. Pearls and flowers were 
gathered up and taken to the treasury. 

1 Now,' said the king, ' you have seen these things and 



38 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

your purpose is fulfilled.' ' Truly/ said the prince, 'I 
have seen things which I have not understood ; what do 
they mean, and what is the story of them ? Tell me and 
kill me.' 

Then said the king : ' The woman you see there in 
chains is my wife ; she is called Gul, the Rose, and I am 
Sinaubar, the Cypress. One day I was hunting and 
became very thirsty. After great search I discovered a 
well in a place so secret that neither bird nor beast nor 
man could find it without labour. I was alone, I took my 
turban for a rope and my cap for a bucket. There was a 
good deal of water, but when I let down my rope, some- 
thing caught it, and I could not in any way draw it back. 
I shouted down into the well : " ! servant of God ! who- 
ever you are, why do you deal unfairly with me ? I am 
dying of thirst, let go ! in God's name." A cry came up 
in answer, "0 servant of God ! we have been in the well 
a long time ; in God's name get us out ! " After trying 
a thousand schemes, I drew up two blind women. They 
said they were peris, and that their king had blinded them 
in his anger and had left them in the well alone. 

1 " Now," they said, " if you will get us the cure for our 
blindness we will devote ourselves to your service, and 
will do whatever you wish." 

1 " What is the cure for your blindness ? " 

1 " Not far. from this place," they said, " a cow comes up 
from the great sea to graze ; a little of her dung would 
cure us. We should be eternally your debtors. Do not 
let the cow see you, or she will assuredly kill you." 

( With renewed strength and spirit I went to the shore. 
There I watched the cow come up from the sea, graze, 
and go back. Then I came out of my hiding, took a little 
of her dung and conveyed it to the peris. They rubbed it 
on their eyes, and by the Divine might saw again. 

'They thanked heaven and me, and then considered 
what they could do to show their gratitude to me. " Our 
perl-king," they said, "has a daughter whom he keeps 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 39 



under his own eye and thinks the most lovely girl on 
earth. In good sooth, she has not her equal ! Now we 
will get you into her house and you must win her heart, 
and if she has an inclination for another, you must drive 
it out and win her for yourself. Her mother loves her 
so dearly that she has no ease but in her presence, and 




THE FAITHFUL DOG 



she will give her to no one in marriage. Teach her to 
love you so that she cannot exist without you. But if the 
matter becomes known to her mother she will have you 
burned in the fire. Then you must beg, as a last favour, 
that your body may be anointed with oil so that you may 
burn the more quickly and be spared torture. If the peri- 
king allows this favour, we two will manage to be your 



40 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

anointers, and we will put an oil on you such that if you 
were a thousand years in the fire not a trace of burning 
would remain." 

' In the end the two peris took me to the girPs house. 
I saw her sleeping daintily. She was most lovely, and 
I was so amazed at the perfection of her beauty that I 
stood with senses lost, and did not know if she were real 
or a dream. When at last I saw that she was a real girl, 
I returned thanks that I, the runner, had come to my goal, 
and that I, the seeker, had found my treasure. 

1 When the perl opened her eyes she asked in affright : 
" Who are you ? Have you come to steal ? How did you 
get here ? Be quick ! save yourself from this whirlpool 
of destruction, for the demons and peris who guard me 
will wake and seize you." 

'But love's arrow had struck me deep, and the girl, 
too, looked kindly on me. I could not go away. For 
some months I remained hidden in her house. We did 
not dare to let her mother know of our love. Sometimes 
the girl was very sad and fearful lest her mother should 
come to know. One day her father said to her : " Sweet- 
heart, for some time I have noticed that your beauty is 
not what it was. How is this ? Has sickness touched 
you ? Tell me that I may seek a cure." Alas ! there 
was now no way of concealing the mingled delight and 
anguish of our love ; from secret it became known. I was 
put in prison and the world grew dark to my rose, bereft 
of her lover. 

< The peri-king ordered me to be burnt, and said : " Why 
have you, a man, done this perfidious thing in my 
house?" His demons and peris collected ambar-wood 
and made a pile, and would have set me on it, when I 
remembered the word of life which the two peris I had 
rescued had breathed into my ear, and I asked that my 
body might be rubbed with oil to release me the sooner 
from torture. This was allowed, and those two contrived 
to be the anointers. I was put into the fire and it was 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 41 

kept up for seven days and nights. By the will of the 
Great King it left no trace upon me. At the end of a 
week the peri-king ordered the ashes to be cast upon the 
dust-heap, and I was found alive and unharmed. 

' Perls who had seen Gul consumed by her love for me 
now interceded with the king, and said : " It is clear that 
your daughter's fortunes are bound up with his, for the 
fire has not hurt him. It is best to give him the girl, for 
they love one another. He is King of Waq of Qaf, and 
you will find none better." 

'To this the king agreed, and made formal marriage 
between Gul and me. You now know the price I paid 
for this faithless creature. prince ! remember our 
compact/ 

1 1 remember/ said the prince ; l but tell me what 
brought Queen Gul to her present pass ? ' 

'One night/ continued King Sinaubar, 'I was aroused 
by feeling GuPs hands and feet, deadly cold, against my 
body. I asked her where she had been to get so cold, and 
she said she had had to go out. Next morning, when I 
went to my stable I saw that two of my horses, Wind- 
foot and Tiger, were thin and worn out. I reprimanded 
the groom and beat him. He asked where his fault lay, 
and said that every night my wife took one or other of 
these horses and rode away, and came back only just be- 
fore dawn. A flame kindled in my heart, and I asked 
myself where she could go and what she could do. I told 
the groom to be silent, and when next Gul took a horse 
from the stable to saddle another quickly and bring it to 
me. That day I did not hunt, but stayed at home to fol- 
low the matter up. I lay down as usual at night and 
pretended to fall asleep. When I seemed safely off, Gul 
got up and went to the stable as her custom was. That 
night it was Tiger's turn. She rode off on him, and I took 
Windfoot and followed. With me went that dog you see, 
a faithful friend who never left me. 

' When I came to the foot of those hills which lie out- 



42 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

side the city I saw Gul dismount and go towards a house 
which some negroes have built there. Over against the 
door was a high seat, and on it lay a giant negro, before 
whom she salaamed. He got up and beat her till she was 
marked with weals, but she uttered no complaint. I was 
dumfounded, for once when I had struck her with a rose- 
stalk she had complained and fretted for three days ! Then 
the negro said to her : " How now, ugly one and shaven 
head ! Why are you so late, and why are you not wear- 
ing wedding garments ? " She answered him : " That 
person did not go to sleep quickly, and he stayed at home 
all day, so that I was not able to adorn myself. I came 
as soon as I could." In a little while he called her to sit 
beside him ; but this was more than I could bear. I lost 
control of myself and rushed upon him. He clutched my 
collar and we grappled in a death struggle. Suddenly 
she came behind me, caught my feet and threw me. 
While he held me on the ground, she drew out my own 
knife and gave it to him. I should have been killed but 
for that faithful dog which seized his throat and pulled 
him down and pinned him to the ground. Then I got 
up and despatched the wretch. There were four other 
negroes at the place; three I killed and the fourth got 
away, and has taken refuge beneath the throne of 
Mihr-afruz, daughter of King Quimus. I took Gul back 
to my palace, and from that time till now I have treated 
her as a dog is treated, and I have cared for my dog as 
though it were my wife. Now you know what the rose 
did to the cypress; and now you must keep compact 
with me.' 

' I shall keep my word/ said the prince ; ' but may a 
little water be taken to the roof so that I may make my 
last ablution ? ' 

To this request the king consented. The prince 
mounted to the roof, and, getting into a corner, struck his 
fire-steel and burned one of the Simurgh's feathers in the 
flame. Straightway it appeared, and by the majesty of its 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 43 

presence made the city quake. It took the prince on its 
back and soared away to the zenith. 

After a time King Sinaubar said: 'That young man is 
a long time on the roof; go and bring him here/ But 
there was no sign of the prince upon the roof ; only, far 
away in the sky, the Simurgh was seen carrying him off. 
When the king heard of his escape he thanked heaven 
that his hands were clean of this blood. 

Up and up flew the Simurgh, till earth looked like an 
egg resting on an ocean. At length it dropped straight 
down to its own place, where the kind prince was 
welcomed by the young birds and most hospitably enter- 
tained. He told the whole story of the rose and the 
cypress, and then, laden with gifts which the Simurgh had 
gathered from cities far and near, he set his face for the 
Castle of Clashing Swords. The king-lion came out to 
meet him ; he took the negro-chief's daughter — whose 
name was also Gul — in lawful marriage, and then marched 
with her and her possessions and her attendants to the 
Place of Gifts. Here they halted for a night, and at dawn 
said good-bye to the king-lion and set out for Jamila's 
country. 

When the Lady Jamila heard that Prince Almas was 
near, she went out, with many a fair handmaid, to give 
him loving reception. Their meeting was joyful, and they 
went together to the garden-palace. Jamila summoned all 
her notables, and in their presence her marriage with the 
prince was solemnised. A few days later she entrusted 
her affairs to her vazir, and made preparation to go with 
the prince to his own country. Before she started she 
restored all the men whom her sister, Latlfa, had be- 
witched, to their own forms, and received their blessings, 
and set them forward to their homes. The wicked Latlfa 
herself she left quite alone in her garden-house. When all 
was ready they set out with all her servants and slaves, all 
her treasure and goods, and journeyed at ease to the city 
of King Quimus. 



44 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

When King Quimus heard of the approach of such 
a great company, he sent out his vazir to give the prince 
honourable meeting, and to ask what had procured him 
the favour of the visit. The prince sent back word that 
he had no thought of war, but he wrote : ' Learn and know, 
King Quimus, that I am here to end the crimes of your 
insolent daughter who has tyrannously done to death 
many kings and kings' sons, and has hung their heads on 
your citadel. I am here to give her the answer to her 
riddle.' Later on he entered the city, beat boldly on the 
drums, and was conducted to the presence. 

The king entreated him to have nothing to do with 
the riddle, for that no man had come out of it alive. 1 
king ! ' replied the prince, ' it is to answer it that I am 
here ; I will not withdraw.' 

Mihr-afruz was told that one man more had staked 
his head on her question, and that this was one who said 
he knew the answer. At the request of the prince, all the 
officers and notables of the land were summoned to hear 
his reply to the princess. All assembled, and the king 
and his queen Gul-rukh, and the girl and the prince 
were there. 

The prince addressed Mihr-afruz : ' What is the ques- 
tion you ask ? ; 

' What did the rose do to the cypress ? ' she rejoined. 

The prince smiled, and turned and addressed the 
assembly. 

1 You who are experienced men and versed in affairs, 
did you ever know or hear and see anything of this 
matter ? ; 

1 No ! ' they answered, c no one has ever known or 
heard or seen aught about it ; it is an empty fancy.' 

'From whom, then, did the princess hear of it? This 
empty fancy it is that has done many a servant of God to 
death ! ' 

All saw the good sense of his words and showed their 
approval. Then he turned to the princess : l Tell us the 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 45 

truth, princess; who told you of this thing? I know it 
hair by hair, and in and out; but if I tell you what I 
know, who is there that can say I speak the truth ? You 
must produce the person who can confirm my words/ 

Her heart sank, for she feared that her long-kept secret 
was now to be noised abroad. But she said merely : 
' Explain yourself. ' 

' I shall explain myself fully when you bring here the 
negro whom you hide beneath your throne.' 

Here the king shouted in wonderment : l Explain your- 
self, young man ! What negro does my daughter hide 
beneath her throne ? } 

1 That/ said the prince, f you will see if you order to 
be brought here the negro who will be found beneath the 
throne of the princess/ 

Messengers were forthwith despatched to the garden- 
house, and after a while they returned bringing a negro 
whom they had discovered in a secret chamber underneath 
the throne of Mihr-afruz, dressed in a dress of honour, and 
surrounded with luxury. The king was overwhelmed 
with astonishment, but the girl had taken heart again. 
She had had time to think that perhaps the prince had 
heard of the presence of the negro, and knew no more. 
So she said haughtily : ' Prince ! you have not answered 
my riddle. 5 

1 most amazingly impudent person,' cried he, ' do 
you not yet repent ? ' 

Then he turned to the people, and told them the whole 
story of the rose and the cypress, of King Sinaubar and 
Queen Gul. When he came to the killing of the negroes, 
he said to the one who stood before them : ' You, too, were 
present.' 

1 That is so ; all happened as you have told it ! ' 

There was great rejoicing in the court and all through 
the country over the solving of the riddle, and because 
now no more kings and princes would be killed. King 
Quimus made over his daughter to Prince Almas, but the 



46 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 

latter refused to marry her, and took her as his captive. 
He then asked that the heads should be removed from 
the battlements and given decent burial. This was done. 
He received from the king everything that belonged to 
Mihr-afruz ; her treasure of gold and silver ; her costly 
stuffs and carpets ; her household plenishing j her horses 
and camels ; her servants and slaves. 

Then he returned to his camp and sent for Dil-aram, 
who came bringing her goods and chattels, her gold and 
her jewels. When all was ready, Prince Almas set out 
for home, taking with him Jamila, and Dil-aram and Gul, 
daughter of Taram-taq, and the wicked Mihr-afruz, and 
all the belongings of the four, packed on horses and 
camels, and in carts without number. 

As he approached the borders of his father's country 
word of his coming went before him, and all the city 
came forth to give him welcome. King Saman-lal-posh — 
Jessamine, wearer of rubies — had so bewept the loss of 
his sons that he was now blind. When the prince had 
kissed his feet and received his blessing, he took from a 
casket a little collyrium of Solomon, which the Simurgh 
had given him, and which reveals the hidden things of 
earth, and rubbed it on his father's eyes. Light came, 
and the king saw his son. 

Mihr-afruz was brought before the king, and the 
prince said : ' This is the murderer of your sons ; do 
with her as you will/ The king fancied that the prince 
might care for the girl's beauty, and replied : ' You have 
humbled her ; do with her as you will/ 

Upon this the prince sent for four swift and strong 
horses, and had the negro bound to each one of them ; 
then each was driven to one of the four quarters, and he 
tore in pieces like muslin. 

This frightened Mihr-afruz horribly, for she thought 
the same thing might be done to herself. She cried out 
to the prince : ' Prince Almas ! what is hardest to get 
is most valued. Up till now I have been subject to no 



WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 47 

man, and no man has had my love. The many kings 
and kings' sons who have died at my hands have died 
because it was their fate to die like this. In this matter 
I have not sinned. That was their fate from eternity ; 
and from the beginning it was predestined that my fate 
should be bound up with yours/ 

The prince gave ear to the argument from pre-ordain- 
ment, and as she was a very lovely maiden he took her 
too in lawful marriage. She and Jamila set up house 
together, and Dil-arara and Gul set up theirs; and the 
prince passed the rest of his life with the four in perfect 
happiness, and in pleasant and sociable entertainment. 

Now has been told what the rose did to the cypress. 

Finished, finished, finished 1 



BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 



Far, far in the forest there were two little huts, and in 
each of them lived a man who was a famous hunter, his 
wife, and three or four children. Now the children were 
forbidden to play more than a short distance from the 
door, as it was known that, away on the other side of the 
wood near the great river, there dwelt a witch who had a 
magic ball that she used as a means of stealing children. 
Her plan was a very simple one, and had never yet 
failed. When she wanted a child she just flung her ball 
in the direction of the child's home, and however far off 
it might be, the ball was sure to reach it. Then, as soon 
as the child saw it, the ball would begin rolling slowly 
back to the witch, just keeping a little ahead of the 
child, so that he always thought that he could catch it 
the next minute. But he never did, and, what was more, 
his parents never saw him again. 

Of course you must not suppose that all the fathers 
and mothers who had lost children made no attempts to 
find them, but the forest was so large, and the witch was 
so cunning in knowing exactly where they were going to 
search, that it was very easy for her to keep out of the 
way. Besides, there was always the chance that the 
children might have been eaten by wolves, of which 
large herds roamed about in winter. 

One day the old witch happened to want a little boy, so 
she threw her ball in the direction of the hunters' huts. 
A child was standing outside, shooting at a mark with 

48 



BALL-CAB1UEM AND THE BAD ONE 49 

his bow and arrows, but the moment he saw the ball, 
which was made of glass whose blues and greens and 




THE. BOY IN THE WITCH '5 HUT. 



whites, all frosted over, kept changing one into the other, 
he flung down his bow, and stooped to pick the ball up. 

BR. E 



50 BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 

But as he did so it began to roll very gently downhill. 
The boy could not let it roll away, when it was so close 
to him, so he gave chase. The ball seemed always within 
his grasp, yet he could never catch it ; it went quicker 
and quicker, and the boy grew more and more excited. 
That time he almost touched it — no, he missed it by a 
hair's breadth ! Now, surely, if he gave a spring he could 
get in front of it ! He sprang forward, tripped and fell, 
and found himself in the witch's house ! 

' Welcome ! welcome ! grandson ! ' said she, ' get up 
and rest yourself, for you have had a long walk, and I am 
sure you must be tired ! ' So the boy sat down, and ate 
some food which she gave him in a bowl. It was quite 
different from anything he had tasted before, and he 
thought it was delicious. When he had eaten up every 
bit, the witch asked him if he had ever fasted. 

1 No,' replied the boy, l at least I have been obliged to 
sometimes, but never if there was any food to be had.' 

1 You will have to fast if you want the spirits to make 
you strong and wise, and the sooner you begin the 
better.' 

' Very well,' said the boy, ' what do I do first ? ' 

1 Lie down on those buffalo skins by the door of the 
hut/ answered she; and the boy lay down, and the 
squirrels and little bears and the birds came and talked 
to him. 

At the end of ten days the old woman came to him 
with a bowl of the same food that he had eaten before. 

1 Get up, my grandson, you have fasted long enough. 
Have the good spirits visited you, and granted you the 
strength and wisdom that you desire ? ' 

'Some of them have come, and have given me a 
portion of both/ answered the boy, 'but many have 
stayed away from me.' 

' Then,' said she, ' you must fast ten days more.' 

So the boy lay down again on the buffalo skins, and 
fasted for ten days, and at the end of that time he turned 



BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 51 

his face to the wall, and fasted for twenty days longer. 
At length the witch called to him, and said : 

'Come and eat something, my grandson.' At the 
sound of her voice the boy got up and ate the food she 
gave him. When he had finished every scrap she spoke 
as before: 'Tell me, my grandson, have not the good 
spirits visited you all these many days that you have 
fasted?' 

1 Not all, grandmother/ answered he ; ' there are still 
some who keep away from me and say that I have not 
fasted long enough.' 

'Then you must fast again,' replied the old woman, 
' and go on fasting till you receive the gifts of all the good 
spirits. Not one must be missing.' 

The boy said nothing, but lay down for the third time 
on the buffalo skins, and fasted for twenty days more. 
And at the end of that time the witch thought he was 
dead, his face was so white and his body so still. But 
when she had fed him out of the bowl he grew stronger, 
and soon was able to sit up. 

' You have fasted a long time,' said she, ' longer than 
anyone ever fasted before. Surely the good spirits must 
be satisfied now ? ' 

' Yes, grandmother,' answered the boy, ' they have all 
come, and have given me their gifts.' 

This pleased the old woman so much that she brought 
him another basin of food, and while he was eating it 
she talked to him, and this is what she said : 'Far away, 
on the other side of the great river, is the home of the 
Bad One. In his house is much gold, and what is more 
precious even than the gold, a little bridge, which 
lengthens out when the Bad One waves his hand, so that 
there is no river or sea that he cannot cross. Now I want 
that bridge and some of the gold for myself, and that is 
the reason that I have stolen so many boys by means of my 
ball. I have tried to teach them how to gain the gifts of 
the good spirits, but none of them would fast long enough, 

e2 



52 BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 

and at last I had to send them away to perform simple, 
easy little tasks. But you have been strong and faithful, 
and you can do this thing if you listen to what I tell 
you! When you reach the river tie this ball to your 
foot, and it will take you across — you cannot manage it 
in any other way. But do not be afraid; trust to the 
ball, and you will be quite safe ! ' 

The boy took the ball and put it in a bag. Then he 
made himself a club and a bow, and some arrows which 
would fly further than anyone else's arrows, because of 
the strength the good spirits had given him. They had 
also bestowed on him the power of changing his shape, 
and had increased the quickness of his eyes and ears so 
that nothing escaped him. And in some way or other 
they made him understand that if he needed more help 
they would give it to him. 

When all these things were ready the boy bade fare- 
well to the witch and set out. He walked through the 
forest for several days without seeing anyone but his 
friends the squirrels and the bears and the birds, but 
though he stopped and spoke to them all, he was careful 
not to let them know where he was going. 

At last, after many days, he came to the river, and 
beyond it he noticed a small hut standing on a hill which 
he guessed to be the home of the Bad One. But the 
stream flowed so quickly that he could not see how he was 
ever to cross it, and in order to test how swift the current 
really was, he broke a branch from a tree and threw it in. 
It seemed hardly to touch the water before it was carried 
away, and even his magic sight could not follow it. He 
could not help feeling frightened, but he hated giving up 
anything that he had once undertaken, and, fastening the 
ball on his right foot, he ventured on the river. To his 
surprise he was able to stand up; then a panic seized 
him, and he scrambled up the bank again. In a minute 
or two he plucked up courage to go a little further into 
the river, but again its width frightened him, and a second 



BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 53 

time he turned back. However, he felt rather ashamed 
of his cowardice, as it was quite clear that his ball could 
support him, and on his third trial he got safely to the 
other side. 

Once there here placed the ball in the bag, and looked 
carefully round him. The door of the Bad One's hut was 
open, and he saw that the ceiling was supported by great 
wooden beams, from which hung the bags of gold and the 
little bridge. He saw, too, the Bad One sitting in the 
midst of his treasures eating his dinner, and drinking 
something out of a horn. It was plain to the boy that he 
must invent some plan of getting the Bad One out of the 
way, or else he would never be able to steal the gold or 
the bridge. 

What should he do ? Give horrible shrieks as if he 
were in pain ? But the Bad One would not care whether 
he were murdered or not ! Call him by his name ? But 
the Bad One was very cunning, and would suspect some 
trick. He must try something better than that ! Then 
suddenly an idea came to him, and he gave a little jump 
of joy. ' Oh, how stupid of me not to think of that before/ 
said he, and he wished with all his might that the Bad 
One should become very hungry — so hungry that he could 
not wait a moment for fresh food to be brought to him. 
And sure enough at that instant the Bad One called out 
to his servant, ' You did not bring food that would satisfy 
a sparrow. Fetch some more at once, for I am perfectly 
starving.' Then, without giving the woman time to go to 
the larder, he got up from his chair, and rolled, staggering 
from hunger, towards the kitchen. 

Directly the door had closed on the Bad One the boy 
ran in, pulled down a bag of gold from the beam, and 
tucked it under his left arm. Next he unhooked the 
little bridge and put it under his right. He did not try 
to escape, as most boys of his age would have done, for 
the wisdom put into his mind by the good spirits taught 
him that before he could reach the river and make use of 



54 BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 

the bridge the Bad One would have tracked him by his 
footsteps and been upon him. So, making himself very 
small and thin, he hid himself behind a pile of buffalo 
skins in the corner, first tearing a slit through one of 
them, so that he could see what was going on. 

He had hardly settled himself when the servant entered 
the room, and, as she did so, the last bag of gold on the 
beam fell to the ground — for they had begun to fall 
directly the boy had taken the first one. She cried to her 
master that someone had stolen both the bag and the 
bridge, and the Bad One rushed in, mad with anger, and 
bade her go and seek for footsteps outside, that they 
might find out where the thief had gone. In a few min- 
utes she returned, saying that he must be in the house, as 
she could not see any footsteps leading to the river, and 
began to move all the furniture in the room, without 
discovering Ball-Carrier. 

' But he must be here somewhere/ she said to herself, 
examining for the second time the pile of buffalo skins ; 
and Ball-Carrier, knowing that he could not possibly 
escape now, hastily wished that the Bad One should be 
unable to eat any more food at present. 

1 Ah, there is a slit in this one/ cried the servant, 
shaking the skin ; ' and here he is.' And she pulled out 
Ball-Carrier, looking so lean and small that he would 
hardly have made a mouthful for a sparrow. 

( Was it you who took my gold and bridge ? ' asked the 
Bad One. 

'Yes/ answered Ball-Carrier, 'it was I who took 
them/ 

The Bad One made a sign to the woman, who inquired 
where he had hidden them. He lifted his left arm where 
the gold was, and she picked up a knife and scraped his 
skin so that no gold should be left sticking to it. 

1 What have you done with the bridge ? ' said she. And 
he lifted his right arm, from which she took the bridge, 
while the Bad One looked on, well pleased. 'Be sure 




the: death of the bad one 



BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 57 

that he does not run away/ chuckled he. ' Boil some 
water, and get him ready for cooking, while I go and 
invite my friends the water-demons to the feast/ 

The woman seized Ball-Carrier between her finger and 
thumb, and was going to carry him to the kitchen, when 
the boy spoke : 

' I am very lean and small now/ he said, ' hardly worth 
the trouble of cooking ; but if you were to keep me two 
days, and gave me plenty of food, I should get big and 
fat. As it is, your friends the water-demons would think 
you meant to laugh at them, when they found that /was 
the feast.' 

1 Well, perhaps you are right/ answered the Bad One ; 
'I will keep you for two days/ And he went out to 
visit the water-demons. 

Meanwhile the servant, whose name was Lung-Woman, 
led him into a little shed, and chained him up to a ring 
in the wall. But food was given him every hour, and at 
the end of two days he was as fat and big as a Christmas 
turkey, and could hardly move his head from one side to 
the other. 

1 He will do now/ said the Bad One, who came con- 
stantly to see how he was getting on. ' I shall go and 
tell the water-demons that we expect them to dinner 
to-night. Put the kettle on the fire, but be sure on no 
account to taste the broth/ 

Lung- Woman lost no time in obeying her orders. She 
built up the fire, which had got very low, filled the kettle 
with water, and passing a rope which hung from the ceil- 
ing through the handle, swung it over the flames. Then 
she brought in Ball-Carrier, who, seeing all these prepara- 
tions, wished that as long as he was in the kettle the 
water might not really boil, though it would hiss and 
bubble, and also, that the spirits would turn the water 
into fat. 

The kettle soon began to sing and bubble, and Ball- 
Carrier was lifted in. Very soon the fat which was to 



58 BALL-CARBIEB AND THE BAD ONE 

make the sauce rose to the surface, and Ball-Carrier, who 
was bobbing about from one side to the other, called out 
that Lung- Woman had better taste the broth, as he thought 
that some salt should be added to it. The servant knew 
quite well that her master had forbidden her to do any- 
thing of the kind, but when once the idea was put into 
her head, she found the smell from the kettle so delicious 
that she unhooked a long ladle from the wall and plunged 
it into the kettle. 

I You will spill it all, if you stand so far off/ said the 
boy ; ' why don't you come a little nearer ? ' And as she 
did so he cried to the spirits to give him back his usual 
size and strength and to make the water scalding hot. 
Then he gave the kettle a kick, which upset all the boil- 
ing water upon her, and jumping over her body he seized 
once more the gold and the bridge, picked up his club 
and bow and arrows, and after setting fire to the Bad 
One's hut, ran down to the river, which he crossed safely 
by the help of the bridge. 

The hut, which was made of wood, was burned to the 
ground before the Bad One came back with a large crowd 
of water-demons. There was not a sign of anyone or 
anything, so he started for the river, where he saw Ball- 
Carrier sitting quietly on the other side. Then the Bad 
One knew what had happened, and after telling the 
water-demons that there would be no feast after all, he 
called to Ball-Carrier, who was eating an apple. 

I I know your name now,' he said, ' and as you have 
ruined me, and I am not rich any more, will you take me 
as your servant ? ' 

1 Yes, I will, though you have tried to kill me,' answered 
Ball-Carrier, throwing the bridge across the water as he 
spoke. But when the Bad One was in the midst of the 
stream, the boy wished it to become small ; and the Bad 
One fell into the water and was drowned, and the world 
was rid of him. 

[IT. S. Bureau of Ethnology.'] ■ 



SOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 

After Ball-Carrier had managed to drown the Bad One 
so that he could not do any more mischief, he forgot the 
way to his grandmother's house, and could not find it 
again, though he searched everywhere. During this time 
he wandered into many strange places, and had many 
adventures ; and one day he came to a hut where a young 
girl lived. He was tired and hungry and begged her to 
let him in and rest, and he stayed a long while, and the 
girl became his wife. One morning he saw two children 
playing in front of the hut, and went out to speak to 
them. But as soon as they saw him they set up cries of 
horror and ran away. 'They are the children of my 
sister who has been on a long journey/ replied his wife, 
' and now that she knows you are my husband she wants 
to kill you.' 

' Oh, well, let her try/ replied Ball-Carrier. ' It is not 
the first time people have wished to do that. And here 
I am still, you see ! ' 

' Be careful/ said the wife, ' she is very cunning.' But 
at this moment the sister-in-law came up. 

' How do you do, brother-in-law ? I have heard of you 
so often that I am very glad to meet you. I am told that 
you are more powerful than any man on earth, and as I 
am powerful too, let us try which is the strongest.' 

' That will be delightful/ answered he. ' Suppose we 
begin with a short race, and then we will go on to other 
things.' 

1 That will suit me very well/ replied the woman, who 

59 



60 HOW BALL-CARBIER FINISHED HIS TASK 

was a witch. < And let us agree that the one who wins 
shall have the right to kill the other.' 

<Oh, certainly/ said Ball-Carrier; 'and I don't think 
we shall find a flatter course than the prairie itself — no 
one knows how many miles it stretches. We will run to 
the end and back again. 7 

This being settled they both made ready for the race, 
and Ball-Carrier silently begged the good spirits to help 
him, and not to let him fall into the hands of this wicked 
witch. 

' When the sun touches the trunk of that tree we will 
start, 5 said she, as they both stood side by side. But with 
the first step Ball-Carrier changed himself into a wolf and 
for a long way kept ahead. Then gradually he heard her 
creeping up behind him, and soon she was in front. So 
Ball-Carrier took the shape of a pigeon and flew rapidly 
past her, but in a little while she was in front again, and 
the end of the prairie was in sight. 'A crow can fly 
faster than a pigeon/ thought he, and as a crow he man- 
aged to pass her and held his ground so long that he 
fancied she was quite beaten. The witch began to be 
afraid of it too, and putting out all her strength slipped 
past him. Next he put on the shape of a hawk, and in 
this form he reached the bounds of the prairie, he and 
the witch turning homewards at the moment. 

Bird after bird he tried, but every time the witch 
gained on him and took the lead. At length the goal 
was in sight, and Ball-Carrier knew that unless he could 
get ahead now he would be killed before his own door, 
under the eyes of his wife. His eyes had grown dim 
from fatigue, his wings flapped wearily and hardly bore 
him along, while the witch seemed as fresh as ever. 
What bird was there whose flight was swifter than his ? 
Would not the good spirits tell him ? Ah, of course he 
knew ; why had he not thought of it at first and spared 
himself all that fatigue ? And the next instant a humming 
bird, dressed in green and blue, flashed past the woman 



HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 63 

and entered the house. The witch came panting up, 
furious at having lost the race which she felt certain of 
winning ; and Ball-Carrier, who had by this time changed 
back into his own shape, struck her on the head and 
killed her. 

For a long while Ball-Carrier was content to stay 
quietly at home with his wife and children, for he was 
tired of adventures, and only did enough hunting to 
supply the house with food. But one day he happened 
to eat some poisonous berries that he had found in the 
forest, and grew so ill that he felt he was going to 
die. 

1 When I am dead do not bury me in the earth,' he 
said, ' but put me over there, among that clump of trees.' 
So his wife and her three children watched by him as 
long as he was alive, and after he was dead they took 
him up and laid the body on a platform of stakes which 
they had prepared in the grove. And as they returned 
weeping to the hut they caught a glimpse of the ball 
rolling away down the path back to the old grandmother. 
One of the sons sprang forward to stop it, for Ball-Carrier 
had often told them the tale of how it had helped him to 
cross the river, but it was too quick for him, and they had 
to content themselves with the war club and bow and 
arrows, which were put carefully away. 

By-and-by some travellers came past, and the chief 
among them asked leave to marry Ball-Carrier's daughter. 
The mother said she must have a little time to think over 
it, as her daughter was still very young ; so it was settled 
that the man should go away for a month with his friends, 
and then come back to see if the girl was willing. 

Now ever since Ball-Carrier's death the family had 
been very poor, and often could not get enough to eat. 
One morning the girl, who had had no supper and no 
breakfast, wandered off to look for cranberries, and 
though she was quite near home was astonished at 
noticing a large hut, which certainly had not been there 



64 HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 

when last she had come that way. No one was about, so 
she ventured to peep in, and her surprise was increased 
at seeing, heaped up in one corner, a quantity of food of 
all sorts, while a little robin redbreast stood perched on a 
beam looking down upon her. 

< It is my father, I am sure/ she cried ; and the. bird 
piped in answer. 

From that day, whenever they wanted food they went 
to the hut, and though the robin could not speak, he 
would hop on their shoulders and let them feed him with 
the food they knew he liked best. 

When the man came back he found the girl looking 
so much prettier and fatter than when he had left her, 
that he insisted that they should be married on the spot. 
And the mother, who did not know how to get rid of 
him, gave in. 

The husband spent all his time in hunting, and the 
family had never had so much meat before ; but the man, 
who had seen for himself how poor they were, noticed 
with amazement that they did not seem to care about it, 
or to be hungry. 'They must get food from somewhere/ 
he thought, and one morning, when he pretended to be 
going out to hunt, he hid in a thicket to watch. Very 
soon they all left the house together, and walked to the 
other hut, which the girl's husband saw for the first time, 
as it was hid in a hollow. He followed, and noticed that 
each one went up to the redbreast, and shook him by the 
claw ; and he then entered boldly and shook the bird's 
claw too. The whole party afterwards sat down to din- 
ner, after which they all returned to their own hut. 

The next day the husband declared that he was very ill, 
and could not eat anything ; but this was only a pretence 
so that he* might get what he wanted. The family were 
all much distressed, and begged him to tell them what 
food he fancied. 

'Oh! I could not eat any food/ he answered every 
time, and at each answer his voice grew fainter and 



HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 67 

fainter, till they thought he would die from weakness 
before their eyes. 

' There must be some thing you could take, if you 
would only say what it is/ implored his wife. 

' No, nothing, nothing ; except, perhaps — but of course 
that is impossible ! ' 

I ]STo, I am sure it is not/ replied she ; l you shall have 
it, I promise — only tell me what it is/ 

I I think — but I could not ask you to do such a thing. 
Leave me alone, and let me die quietly/ 

1 You shall not die/ cried the girl, who was very fond 
of her husband, for he did not beat her as most girls' 
husbands did. ' Whatever it is, I will manage to get it 
for you/ 

'Well, then, I think, if I had that — redbreast, nicely 
roasted, I could eat a little bit of his wing ! ' 

The wife started back in horror at such a request ; but 
the man turned his face to the wall, and took no notice, 
as he thought it was better to leave her to herself for a 
little. 

Weeping and wringing her hands, the girl went down 
to her mother. The brothers were very angry when they 
heard the story, and declared that, if anyone were to die, 
it certainly should not be the robin. But all that night 
the man seemed getting weaker and weaker, and at last, 
quite early, the wife crept out, and stealing to the hut, 
killed the bird, and brought him home to her husband. 

Just as she was going to cook it her two brothers came 
in. They cried out in horror at the sight, and, rushing out 
of the hut, declared they would never see her any more. 
And the poor girl, with a heavy heart, took the body of the 
redbreast up to her husband. 

But directly she entered the room the man told her 
that he felt a great deal better, and that he would rather 
have a piece of bear's flesh, well boiled, than any bird, 
however tender. His wife felt very miserable to think 

f2 



6S HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 

that their beloved redbreast had been sacrificed for 
nothing, and begged hirn to try a little bit. 

'You felt so sure that it would do you good before/ 
said she, ' that I can't help thinking it would quite cure 
you now/ But the man only flew into a rage, and 
flung the bird out of the window. Then he got up and 
went out. 

Now all this while the ball had been rolling, rolling, 
rolling to the old grandmother's hut on the other side of the 
world, and directly it rolled into her hut she knew that 
her grandson must be dead. Without wasting any time 
she took a fox skin and tied it round her forehead, and 
fastened another round her waist, as witches always do 
when they leave their own homes. When she was ready 
she said to the ball : ' Go back the way you came, and 
lead me to my grandson.' And the ball started with the 
old woman following. 

It was a long journey, even for a witch, but, like other 
things, it ended at last ; and the old woman stood before 
the platform of stakes, where the body of Ball-Carrier lay. 

'Wake up, my grandson, it is time to go home,' the 
witch said. And Ball-Carrier stepped down off the plat- 
form, and brought his club and bow and arrows out of the 
hut, and set out, for the other side of the world, behind the 
old woman. 

When they reached the hut where Ball-Carrier had 
fasted so many years ago, the old woman spoke for the 
first time since they had started on their way. 

'My grandson, did you ever manage to get that gold 
from the Bad One ? ' 

'Yes, grandmother, I got it/ 

' Where is it ? ' she asked. 

' Here, in my left arm-pit,' answered he. 

So she picked up a knife and scraped away all the 
gold which had stuck to his skin, and which had been 
sticking there ever since he first stole it. After she had 
finished she asked again : 



HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 69 

' My grandson, did you manage to get that bridge from 
the Bad One ? ' 

' Yes, grandmother, I got that too/ answered he. 

1 Where is it ? ' she asked, and Ball-Carrier lifted his 
right arm, and pointed to his arm-pit. 

' Here is the bridge, grandmother/ said he. 

Then the witch did something that nobody in the 
world could have guessed that she would do. First, she 
took the gold and said to Ball-Carrier : 

' My grandson, this gold must be hidden in the earth, 
for if people think they can get it when they choose, they 
will become lazy and stupid. But if we take it and bury 
it in different parts of the world they will have to work 
for it if they want it, and then will only find a little at a 
time/ And as she spoke, she pulled up one of the poles 
of the hut, and Ball-Carrier saw that underneath was a 
deep, deep hole, which seemed to have no bottom. Down 
this hole she poured all the gold, and when it was out of 
sight it ran about all over the world, where people that 
dig hard sometimes find it. And after that was done she 
put the pole back again. 

Next she lifted down a spade from a high shelf, where 
it had grown quite rusty, and dug a very small hole 
on the opposite side of the hut — very small, but very 
deep. 

' Give me the bridge/ said she, ' for I am going to bury 
it here. If anyone was to get hold of it, and find that 
they could cross rivers and seas without any trouble, they 
would never discover how to cross them for themselves. 
I am a witch, and if I had chosen I could easily have 
cast my spells over the Bad One, and have made him 
deliver them to you the first day you came into my 
hut. But then you would never have fasted, and never 
have planned how to get what you wanted, and never have 
known the good spirits, and would have been fat and idle 
to the end of your days. And now go; in that hut, which 
you can just see far away, live your father and mother, who 



70 HOW BALL-CARRIER FINISHED HIS TASK 

are old people now, and need a son to hunt for them. You 
have done what you were set to do, and I need you no 
more.' 

Then Ball-Carrier remembered his parents and went 
back to them. 

[From Bureau of Ethnology. ' Indian Folklore.'] 






THE BUN YIP 

Long, long ago, far, far away on the other side of the 
world, some young men left the camp where they lived 
to get some food for their wives and children. The sun 
was hot, but they liked heat, and as they went they ran 
races and tried who could hurl his spear the farthest, or 
was cleverest in throwing a strange weapon called a 
boomerang, which always returns to the thrower. They 
did not get on very fast at this rate, but presently they 
reached a flat place that in time of flood was full of water, 
but was now, in the height of summer, only a set of pools, 
each surrounded with a fringe of plants, with bulrushes 
standing in the inside of all. In that country the people 
are fond of the roots of bulrushes, which they think as 
good as onions, and one of the young men said that they 
had better collect some of the roots and carry them back 
to the camp. It did not take them long to weave the 
tops of the willows into a basket, and they were just 
going to wade into the water and pull up the bulrush 
roots when a youth suddenly called out : ' After all, why 
should we waste our time in doing work that is only fit 
for women and children ? Let them come and get the 
roots for themselves ; but we will fish for eels and any- 
thing else we can get.' 

This delighted the rest of the party, and they all began 
to arrange their fishing lines, made from the bark of the 
yellow mimosa, and to search for bait for their hooks. 
Most of them used worms, but one, who had put a piece 
of raw meat for dinner into his skin wallet, cut off a 

71 



72 THE BUNYIP 

little bit and baited his line with it, unseen by his com- 
panions. 

For a long time they cast patiently, without receiving 
a single bite ; the sun had grown low in the sky, and it 
seemed as if they would have to go home empty-handed, 
not even with a basket of roots to show ; when the youth, 
who had baited his hook with raw meat, suddenly saw 
his line disappear under the water. Something, a very 
heavy fish, he supposed, was pulling so hard that he 
could hardly keep his feet, and for a few minutes it 
seemed either as if he must let go or be dragged into the 
pool. He cried to his friends to help him, and at last, 
trembling with fright at what they were going to see, 
they managed between them to land on the bank a 
creature that was neither a calf nor a seal, but something 
of both, with a long, broad tail. They looked at each 
other with horror, cold shivers running down their 
spines; for though they had never beheld it, there was 
not a man amongst them who did not know what it was — 
the cub of the awful Bunyip ! 

All of a sudden the silence was broken by a low wail, 
answered by another from the other side of the pool, as 
the mother rose up from her den and came towards them, 
rage flashing from her horrible yellow eyes. ' Let it go ! 
let it go ! ' whispered the young men to each other ; but 
the captor declared that he had caught it, and was going 
to keep it. f He had promised his sweetheart/ he said, 
' that he would bring back enough meat for her father's 
house to feast on for three days, and though they could not 
eat the little Bunyip, her brothers and sisters should have 
it to play with/ So, flinging his spear at the mother to keep 
her back, he threw the little Bunyip on to his shoulders, 
and set out for the camp, never heeding the poor mother's 
cries of distress. 

By this time it was getting near sunset, and the plain 
was in shadow, though the tops of the mountains were 
still quite bright. The youths had all ceased to be afraid, 



THE BUN YIP 75 

when they were startled by a low rushing sound behind 
them, and, looking round, saw that the pool was slowly 
rising, and the spot where they had landed the Bunyip 
was quite covered. ' What could it be ? ' they asked 
one of another ; ' there was not a cloud in the skyj 
yet the water had risen higher already than they had 
ever known it do before.' For an instant they stood 
watching as if they were frozen, then they turned and 
ran with all their might, the man with the Bunyip run- 
ning faster than all. When he reached a high peak over- 
looking all the plain he stopped to take breath, and 
turned to see if he was safe yet. Safe! why only the 
tops of the trees remained above that sea of water, and 
these were fast disappearing. They must run fast indeed 
if they were to escape. So on they flew, scarcely feeling 
the ground as they went, till they flung themselves on 
the ground before the holes scooped out of the earth 
where they had all been born. The old men were sitting 
in front, the children were playing, and the women 
chattering together, when the little Bunyip fell into their 
midst, and there was scarcely a child among them who 
did not know that something terrible was upon them. 
' The water! the water !' gasped one of the young men; 
and there it was, slowly but steadily mounting the ridge 
itself. Parents and children clung together, as if by that 
means they could drive back the advancing flood ; and the 
youth who had caused all this terrible catastrophe, seized 
his sweetheart, and cried : ' I will climb with you to the top 
of that tree, and there no waters can reach us/ But, as he 
spoke, something cold touched him, and quickly he glanced 
down at his feet. Then with a shudder he saw that they 
were feet no longer, but bird's claws. He looked at the 
girl he was clasping, and beheld a great black bird 
standing at his side ; he turned to his friends, but a 
flock of great awkward flapping creatures stood in their 
place. He put up his hands to cover his face, but they 
were no more hands, only the ends of wings ; and when 



76 THE BUNYIP 

he tried to speak, a noise such, as he had never heard 
before seemed to come from his throat, which had sud- 
denly become narrow and slender. Already the water 
had risen to his waist, and he found himself sitting easily 
upon it, while its surface reflected back the image of a 
black swan, one of many. 

Never again did the swans become men ; but they are 
still different from other swans, for in the night-time those 
who listen can hear them talk in a language that is cer- 
tainly not swan's language ; and there are even sounds of 
laughing and talking, unlike any noise made by the swans 
whom we know. 

The little Bunyip was carried home by its mother, and 
after that the waters sank back to their own channels. 
The side of the pool where she lives is always shunned 
by everyone, as nobody knows when she may suddenly 
put out her head and draw him into her mighty jaws. 
But people say that underneath the black waters of the 
pool she has a house filled with beautiful things, such as 
mortals who dwell on the earth have no idea of. Though 
how they know I cannot tell you, as nobody has ever 
seen it. 

[From Journal of Anthropological Institute.] 



FATHER aRUMBLER 

Once upon a time there lived a man who had nearly as 
many children as there were sparrows in the garden. He 
had to work very hard all day to get them enough to eat, 
and was often tired and cross, and abused everything and 
everybody, so that people called him < Father Grumbler.' 

By-and-by he grew weary of always working, and on 
Sundays he lay a long while in bed, instead of going to 
church. Then after a time he found it dull to sit so many 
hours by himself, thinking of nothing but how to pay the 
rent that was owing, and as the tavern across the road 
looked bright and cheerful, he walked in one day and sat 
down with his friends. 'It was just to chase away Care/ 
he said ; but when he came out, hours and hours after, 
Care came out with him. 

Father Grumbler entered his house feeling more dismal 
than when he left it, for he knew that he had wasted 
both his time and money. 

' I will go and see the Holy Man in the cave near the 
well/ he said to himself, ' and perhaps he can tell me why 
all the luck is for other people, and only misfortunes 
happen to me.' And he set out at once for the cave. 

It was a long way off, and the road led over mountains 
and through valleys ; but at last he reached the cave where 
the Holy Man dwelt, and knocked at the door. 

'Who is there ?' asked a voice from within. ' It is I, 
Holy Man, Father Grumbler, you know, who has as 
many children as sparrows in the garden.' 

' Well, and what is it that you want ? ' 

77 



78 FATHER GRUMBLER 

' I want to know why other people have all the luck, 
and only misfortunes happen to me ! ' 

The Holy Man did not answer, but went into an inner 
cave, from which he came out bearing something in his 
hand. 'Do you see this basket ?' said he. 'It is a 
magical basket, and if you are hungry you have only got 
to say : " Little basket, little basket, do your duty," and 
you will eat the best dinner you ever had in your life. 
But when you have had enough, be sure you don't forget 
to cry out : " That will do for to-day." Oh ! — and one 
thing more — you need not show it to everybody and 
declare that I have given it to you. Do you understand ? ' 

Father Grumbler was always accustomed to think of 
himself as so unlucky that he did not know whether the 
Holy Man was not playing a trick upon him ; but he took 
the basket without being polite enough to say either 
' Thank you/ or ' Good-morning/ and went away. How- 
ever, he only waited till he was out of sight of the cave 
before he stooped down and whispered : ' Little basket, 
little basket, do your duty/ 

Now the basket had a lid, so that he could not see 
what was inside, but he heard quite clearly strange noises, 
as if a sort of scuffling was going on. Then the lid burst 
open, and a quantity of delicious little white rolls came 
tumbling out one after the other, followed by a stream of 
small fishes all ready cooked. What a quantity there 
were to be sure ! The whole road was covered with them, 
and the banks on each side were beginning to disappear. 
Father Grumbler felt quite frightened at the torrent, but 
at last he remembered what the Holy Man had told him, 
and cried at the top of his voice : < Enough ! enough ! 
That will do for to-day ! ' And the lid of the basket closed 
with a snap. 

Father Grumbler sighed with relief and happiness as 
he looked around him, and sitting down on a heap of 
stones, he ate till he could eat no more. Trout, salmon, 
turbot, soles, and a hundred other fishes whose names he 



FATHER GRUMBLER 



79 



did not know, lay boiled, fried, and grilled within reach of 
his hands. As the Holy Man had said, he had never 
eaten such a dinner ; still, when he had done, he shook his 
head, and grumbled : ' Yes, there is plenty to eat, of course, 



r**«*s 




but it only makes me thirsty, and there is not a drop to 
drink anywhere/ 

Yet, somehow, he could never tell why, he looked up 
and saw the tavern in front of him, which he thought was 
miles, and miles, and miles away. 



80 FATHER GRUMBLER 

( Bring the best wine you have got, and two glasses, 
good mother/ he said as he entered, 'and if you are fond 
of fish there is enough here to feed the house. Only 
there is no need to chatter about it all over the place. 
You understand ? Eh ? ' And without waiting for an 
answer he whispered to the basket : ( Little basket, little 
basket, do your duty. 5 The innkeeper and his wife 
thought that their customer had gone suddenly mad, and 
watched him closely, ready to spring on him if he became 
violent ; but both instinctively jumped backwards, nearly 
into the fire, as rolls and fishes of every kind came tum- 
bling out of the basket, covering the tables and chairs and 
the floor, and even overflowing into the street. 

' Be quick, be quick, and pick them up,' cried the man. 
' And if these are not enough, there are plenty more to be 
had for the asking/ 

The innkeeper and his wife did not need telling twice. 
Down they went on their knees and gathered up every- 
thing they could lay hands on. But busy though they 
seemed, they found time to whisper to each other : 

'If we can only get hold of that basket it will make 
our fortune ! ' 

So they began by inviting Father Grumbler to sit down 
to the table, and brought out the best wine in the cellar, 
hoping it might loosen his tongue. But Father Grumbler 
was wiser than they gave him credit for, and though they 
tried in all manner of ways to find out who had given him 
the basket, he put them off, and kept his secret to himself. 
Unluckily, though he did not speak, he did drink, and it 
was not long before he fell fast asleep. Then the woman 
fetched from her kitchen a basket, so like the magic one 
that no one, without looking very closely, could tell the 
difference, and placed it in Father Grumbler's hand, 
while she hid the other carefully away. 

It was dinner time when the man awoke, and, jumping 
up hastily, he set out for home, where he found all the 
children gathered round a basin of thin soup, and push- 



FATHER GRUMBLER 81 

ing their wooden bowls forward, hoping to have the first 
spoonful. Their father burst into the midst of them, 
bearing his basket, and crying : 

' Don't spoil your appetites, children, with that stuff. 
Do you see this basket ? Well, I have only got to say, 
" Little basket, little basket, do your duty," and you will 
see what will happen. Now you shall say it instead of 
me, for a treat.' 

The children, wondering and delighted, repeated the 
words, but nothing happened. Again and again they 
tried, but the basket was only a basket, with a few scales 
of fish sticking to the bottom, for the innkeeper's wife had 
taken it to market the day before. 

' What is the matter with the thing ? ' cried the father 
at last, snatching the basket from them, and turning it all 
over, grumbling and swearing while he did so, under the 
eyes of his astonished wife and children, who did not 
know whether to cry or to laugh. 

'It certainly smells of fish,' he said, and then he 
stopped, for a sudden thought had come to him. 

' Suppose it is not mine at all ; supposing Ah, 

the scoundrels.' 

And without listening to his wife and children, who 
were frightened at his strange conduct and begged him 
to stay at home, he ran across to the tavern and burst 
open the door. 

' Can I do anything for you, Father Grumbler ? ' asked 
the innkeeper's wife in her softest voice. 

' I have taken the wrong basket — by mistake, of course,' 
said he. 'Here is yours, will you give me back my 
own? ' 

'Why, what are you talking about?' answered she. 
'You can see for yourself that there is no basket here.' 

And though Father Grumbler did look, it was quite 
true that none was to be seen. 

'Come, take a glass to warm you this cold day,' said 
the woman, who was anxious to keep him in a good 

BR. o 



82 FATHER GRUMBLER 

temper, and as this was an invitation Father Grumbler 
never refused, he tossed it off and left the house. 

He took the road that led to the Holy Man's cave, 
and made such haste that it was not long before he 
reached it. 

1 Who is there ? ' said a voice in answer to his knock. 

' It is me, it is me, Holy Man. You know quite well. 
Father Grumbler, who has as many children as sparrows 
in the garden/ 

'But, my good man, it was only yesterday that I gave 
you a handsome present/ 

'Yes, Holy Man, and here it is. But something has 
happened, I don't know what, and it won't work any 
more/ 

'Well, put it down. I will go and see if I can find 
anything for you/ 

In a few minutes the Holy Man returned with a cock 
under his arm. 

'Listen to me/ he said, 'whenever you want money, 
you have only to say: "Show me what you can do, 
cock," and you will see some wonderful things. But, 
remember, it is not necessary to let all the world into 
the secret/ 

'Oh no, Holy Man, I am not so foolish as that/ 

' Nor to tell everybody that I gave it to you,' went on 
the Holy Man. 'I have not got these treasures by the 
dozen/ 

And without waiting for an answer he shut the door. 

As before, the distance seemed to have wonderfully 
shortened, and in a moment the tavern rose up in front 
of Father Grumbler. Without stopping to think, he went 
straight in, and found the innkeeper's wife in the kitchen 
making a cake. 

'Where have you come from, with that fine red cock 
in your basket/ asked she, for the bird was so big that 
the lid would not shut down properly. 

' Oh, I come from a place where they don't keep these 



FATHER GRUMBLER 



83 



things by the dozen/ he replied, sitting down in front of 
the table. 

The woman said no more, but set before him a bottle 
of his favourite wine, and soon he began to wish to dis- 
play his prize. 

' Show me what you can do, cock,' cried he. And the 
cock stood up and flapped his wings three times, crowing 





] i ^TRex 6 WoTvderful C°^0 



'coquerico' with a voice like a trumpet, and at each crow 
there fell from his beak golden drops, and diamonds as 
large as peas. 

This time Father Grumbler did not invite the inn- 
keeper's wife to pick up his treasures, but put his own 
hat under the cock's beak, so as to catch everything he let 

g2 



84 FATHER GRUMBLER 

fall ; and he did not see the husband and wife exchanging 
glances with each other which said, 'That would be a 
splendid cock to put with our basket.' 

1 Have another glass of wine ? ' suggested the inn- 
keeper, when they had finished admiring the beauty of 
the cock, for they pretended not to have seen the gold 
or the diamonds. And Father Grumbler, nothing loth, 
drank one glass after another, till his head fell forward 
on the table, and once more he was sound asleep. Then 
the woman gently coaxed the cock from the basket 
and carried it off to her own poultry yard, from which 
she brought one exactly like it, and popped it in its 
place. 

Night was falling when the man awoke, and throwing 
proudly some grains of gold on the table to pay for the 
wine he had drunk, he tucked the cock comfortably into 
his basket and set out for home. 

His wife and all the children were waiting for him at 
the door, and as soon as she caught sight of him she broke 
out : 

' You are a nice man to go wasting your time and your 
money drinking in that tavern, and leaving us to starve ! 
Aren't you ashamed of yourself ? ' 

i You don't know what you are talking of,' he answered. 
' Money ? Why, I have gold and diamonds now, as much 
as I want. Do you see that cock ? Well, you have only 
to say to him, " Show what you can do, cock," and some- 
thing splendid will happen.' 

Neither wife nor children were inclined to put much 
faith in him after their last experience; however, the} 7 
thought it was worth trying, and did as he told them. 
The cock flew round the room like a mad thing, and 
crowed till their heads nearly split with the noise ; but no 
gold or diamonds dropped on the brick floor — not the 
tiniest grain of either. 

Father Grumbler stared in silence for an instant, and 
then he began to swear so loudly that even his family, 



FATHER GRUMBLER 



85 



accustomed as they were to his language, wondered at 
him. 

At last he grew a little quieter, but remained as 
puzzled as ever. 

1 Can I have forgotten the words ? But I know that 
was what he said ! And I saw the diamonds with my 




**\« MpUj IV*\ 3W«£ t\eWj 




own eyes ! ' Then suddenly he seized the cock, shut it 
into the basket, and rushed out of the house. 

His heavy wooden shoes clattered as he ran along the 
road, and he made such haste that the stars were only 
just beginning to come out when he reached the cave of 
the Holy Man. 

' Who is that knocking ? ' asked a voice from within. 



86 FATHER GRUMBLER 

' It is me ! It is me ! Holy Man ! you know ! 
Father ' 

' But, my good fellow, you really should give someone 
else a chance. This is the third time you have been — and 
at such an hour, too ! ' 

* Oh, yes, Holy Man, I know it is very late, but you 
will forgive me ! It is- your cock — there is something 
the matter. It is like the basket. Look ! ' 

* TJiat my cock ? That my basket ? Somebody has 
played you a trick, my good man ! ' 

'A trick?' repeated Father Grumbler, who began to 
understand what had happened. * Then it must have been 
those two ' 

' 1 warned you not to show them to anybody/ said the 

Holy Man. 'You deserve but I will give you one 

more chance/ And, turning, he unhooked something 
from the wall. 

'When you wish to dust your own jacket or those of 
your friends/ he said, 'you have only got to say, " Flack, 
flick, switch, be quick," and you will see what happens. 
That is all I have to tell you.' And, smiling to himself, 
the Holy Man pushed Father Grumbler out of the cave. 

' Ah, I understand now/ muttered the good man, as he 
took the road home, 'but I think I have got you two 
rascals ! ' and he hurried on to the tavern with his basket 
under his arm, and the cock and the switch both inside. 

' Good evening, friends ! ' he said, as he entered the 
inn. ' I am very hungry, and should be glad if you would 
roast this cock forme as soon as possible. This cock and 
no other — mind what I say/ he went on. 'Oh, and 
another thing ! You can light the fire with this basket. 
When you have done that I will show you something I 
have in my bag/ and, as he spoke, he tried to imitate the 
smile that the Holy Man had given him. 

These directions made the innkeeper's wife very 
uneasy. However, she said nothing, and began to roast 



FATHER GRUMBLER 87 

the cock, while her husband did his best to make the man 
sleepy with wine, but all in vain. 

After dinner, which he did not eat without grumbling, 
for the cock was very tough, the man struck his hand on 
the table, and said : ' Now listen to me. Go and fetch my 
cock and my basket, at once. Do you hear ? ' 

' Your cock, and your basket, Father Grumbler ? But 
you have just ' 

' My cock and my basket !' interrupted he. 'And, if 
you are too deaf and too stupid to understand what that 
means, I have got something which may help to teach 
you/ And opening the bag, he cried: 'Flack! flick! 
switch, be quick/ 

And flack ! flick ! like lightning a white switch sprang 
out of the bag, and gave such hearty blows to the inn- 
keeper and his wife, and to Father Grumbler into the 
bargain, that they all jumped as high as feathers when a 
mattress is shaken. 

' Stop ! stop ! make it stop, and you shall have back 
your cock and basket,' cried the man and his wife. And 
Father Grumbler, who had no wish to go on, called out 
between his hops : ' Stop then, can't you ? That is enough 
for to-day ! ' 

But the switch paid no attention, and dealt out its 
blows as before, and might have been dealing them to 
this day, if the Holy Man had not heard their cries and 
come to the rescue. ' Into the bag, quick ! ' said he, and 
the switch obeyed. 

'Now go and fetch me the cock and the basket/ and 
the woman went without a word, and placed them on the 
table. 

' You have all got what you deserved/ continued the 
Holy Man, 'and I have no pity for any of you. I shall 
take my treasures home, and perhaps some day I may find 
a man who knows how to make the best of the chances 
that are given him. But that will never be you/ he 
added, turning to Father Grumbler. 

[From Contes Populaires.] 



THE STORY OF THE YARA 

Down in the south, where the sun shines so hotly that 
everything and everybody sleeps all day, and even the 
great forests seem silent, except early in the morning 
and late in the evening — down in this country there 
once lived a young man and a maiden. The girl had 
been born in the town, and had scarcely ever left it; but 
the young man was a native of another country, and 
had only come to the city near the great river because he 
could find no work to do where he was. 

A few months after his arrival, when the days were 
cooler, and the people did not sleep so much as usual, a 
great feast was held a little way out of the town, and to 
this feast everyone flocked from thirty miles and more. 
Some walked and some rode, some came in beautiful 
golden coaches ; but all had on splendid dresses of red or 
blue, while wreaths of flowers rested on their hair. 

It was the first time that the youth had been present 
on such an occasion, and he stood silently aside watching 
the graceful dances and the pretty games played by the 
young people. And as he watched, he noticed one girl, 
dressed in white with scarlet pomegranates in her hair, 
who seemed to him lovelier than all the rest. 

When the feast was over, and the young man returned 
home, his manner was so strange that it drew the atten- 
tion of all his friends. 

Through his work next day the youth continued to see 
the girl's face, throwing the ball to her companions, or 

88 



THE STORY OF THE YARA 89 

threading her way between them as she danced. At 
night sleep fled from him, and after tossing for hours on 
his bed, he would get up and plunge into a deep pool that 
lay a little way in the forest. 

This state of things went on for some weeks, then at 
last chance favoured him. One evening, as he was passing 
near the house where she lived, he saw her standing with 
her back to the wall, trying to beat off with her fan the 
attacks of a savage dog that was leaping at her throat. 
Alonzo, for such was his name, sprang forward, and with 
one blow of his fist stretched the creature dead upon the 
road. He then helped the frightened and half-fainting 
girl into the large cool verandah where her parents were 
sitting, and from that hour he was a welcome guest in 
the house, and it was not long before he was the promised 
husband of Julia. 

Every day, when his work was done, he used to go up 
to the house, half hidden among flowering plants and 
brilliant creepers, where humming-birds darted from bush 
to bush, and parrots of all colours, red and green and grey, 
shrieked in chorus. There he would find the maiden 
waiting for him, and they would spend an hour or two 
under the stars, which looked so large and bright that 
you felt as if you could almost touch them. 

1 What did you do last night after you went home ? ' 
suddenly asked the girl one evening. 

' Just the same as I always do,' answered he. l It was 
too hot to sleep, so it was no use going to bed, and I 
walked straight off to the forest and bathed in one of 
those deep dark pools at the edge of the river. I have 
been there constantly for several months, but last night 
a strange thing happened. I was taking my last plunge, 
when I heard — sometimes from one side, and sometimes 
from another — the sound of a voice singing more sweetly 
than any nightingale, though I could not catch any words. 
I left the pool, and, dressing myself as fast as I could, 
I searched every bush and tree round the water, as I 'V 



90 THE STORY OF THE YARA 

fancied that perhaps it was my friend who was playing 
a trick on me, but there was not a creature to be seen ; 
and when I reached home I found my friend fast asleep.' 

As Julia listened her face grew deadly white, and her 
whole body shivered as if with cold. Prom her childhood 
she had heard stories of the terrible beings that lived in 
the forests and were hidden under the banks of the rivers, 
and could only be kept off by powerful charms. Could 
the voice which had bewitched Alonzo have come from 
one of these ? Perhaps, who knows, it might be the voice 
of the dreaded Yara herself, who sought young men on 
the eve of their marriage as her prey. 

Por a moment the girl sat choked with fear, as these 
thoughts rushed through her; then she said: 'Alonzo, 
will you promise me something ? ' 

1 What is that ? ' asked he. 

'It is something that has to do with our future 
happiness.' 

' Oh ! it is serious, then ? Well, of course, I promise. 
Now tell me ! ' 

'I want you to promise/ she answered, lowering her 
voice to a whisper, < never to bathe in those pools again.' 

'But why not, queen of my soul; have I not gone 
there always, and nothing has harmed me, flower of my 
heart ? ' 

' No ; but perhaps something will. If you will not 
promise I shall go mad with fright. Promise me.' 

1 Why, what is the matter ? You look so pale ! Tell 
me, why you are so frightened ? ' 

1 Did you not hear the song ? ' she asked, trembling. 

' Suppose I did, how could that hurt me ? It was the 
loveliest song I ever heard ! ' 

' Yes, and after the song will come the apparition ; and 
after that — after that ' 

' I don't understand. Well — after that ? '' 

' After that — death.' 

Alonzo stared at her. Had she really gone mad? 



THE STORY OF THE YARA 91 

Such talk was very unlike Julia, but before lie could 
collect his senses the girl spoke again : 

'That is the reason why I implore you never to go 
there again; at any rate till after we are married/ 

1 And what difference will our marriage make ? ' 

' Oh, there will be no danger then ; you can go to bathe 
as often as you like ! ' 

' But tell me why you are so afraid ? ' 

' Because the voice you heard — I know you will laugh, 
but it is quite true — it was the voice of the Yara.' 

At these words Alonzo burst into a shout of laughter ; 
but it sounded so harsh and loud that Julia shrank away 
shuddering. It seemed as if he could not stop himself, 
and the more he laughed the paler the poor girl became, 
murmuring to herself as she watched him : 

1 Oh, heaven ! you have seen her ! you have seen her ! 
what shall I do ? ' 

Faint as was her whisper, it reached the ears of Alonzo, 
who, though he still could not speak for laughing, shook 
his head. 

' You may not know it, but it is true. Nobody who 
has not seen the Yara laughs like that/ And Julia flung 
herself on the ground weeping bitterly. 

At this sight Alonzo became suddenly grave, and 
kneeling by her side, gently raised her up. 

1 Do not cry so, my angel/ he said, 1 1 will promise 
anything you please. Only let me see you smile again/ 

With a great effort Julia checked her sobs, and rose to 
her feet. 

' Thank you/ she answered. ' My heart grows lighter 
as you say that ! I know you will try to keep your word 
and to stay away from the forest. But — the power of the 
Yara is very strong, and the sound of her voice is apt to 
make men forget everything else in the world. Oh, I 
have seen it, and more than one betrothed maiden lives 
alone, broken-hearted. If ever you should return to the 
pool where you first heard the voice, promise me that you 



92 



THE STORY OF THE YARA 



will at least take this with you.' And opening a curiously 
carved box, she took out a sea-shell shot with many 




juilS — r\ . ii — * *i€§ 

Jult^ 5ugs^herj3 ot\qs u\to the Sftell r 



colours, and sang a song softly into it. 'The moment 
you hear the Yara's voice/ said she, 'put this to your 



THE STORY OF THE YARA 93 

ear, and you will hear my song instead. Perhaps — I do 
not know for certain — but perhaps, I may be stronger 
than the Yara.' 

It was late that night when Alonzo returned home. 
The moon was shining on the distant river, which looked 
cool and inviting, and the trees of the forest seemed to 
stretch out their arms and beckon him near. But the 
young man steadily turned his face in the other direction, 
and went home to bed. 

The struggle had been hard, but Alonzo had his reward 
next day in the joy and relief with which Julia greeted 
him. He assured her that having overcome the tempta- 
tion once the danger was now over; but she, knowing 
better than he did the magic of the Yara's face and voice, 
did not fail to make him repeat his promise when he 
went away. 

For three nights Alonzo kept his word, not because he 
believed in the Yara, for he thought that the tales about 
her were all nonsense, but because he could not bear the 
tears with which he knew that Julia would greet him, if he 
confessed that he had returned to the forest. But, in spite 
of this, the song rang in his ears, and daily grew louder. 

On the fourth night the attraction of the forest grew 
so strong that neither the thought of Julia nor the pro- 
mises he had made her could hold him back. At eleven 
o'clock he plunged into the cool darkness of the trees, and 
took the path that led straight to the river. Yet, for the 
first time, he found that Julia's warnings, though he 
had laughed at her at the moment, had remained in his 
memory, and he glanced at the bushes with a certain 
sense of fear which was quite new to him. 

When he reached the river he paused and looked 
round for a moment to make sure that the strange feeling 
of someone watching him was fancy, and he was really 
alone. But the moon shone brightly on every tree, and 
nothing was to be seen but his own shadow ; nothing was 
to be heard but the sound of the rippling stream. 



94 THE STORY OF THE TAMA 

He threw off his clothes, and was just about to dive 
in headlong, when something — he did not know what — 
suddenly caused him to look round. At the same instant 
the moon passed from behind a cloud, and its rays fell on 
a beautiful golden-haired woman standing half hidden by 
the ferns. 

With one bound he caught up his mantle, and rushed 
headlong down the path he had come, fearing at each 
step to feel a hand laid on his shoulder. It was not till 
he had left the last trees behind him, and was standing 
in the open plain, that he dared to look round, and then 
he thought a figure in white was still standing there 
waving her arms to and fro. This was enough; he ran 
along the road harder than ever, and never paused till he 
was safe in his own room. 

With the earliest rays of dawn he went back to the 
forest to see whether he could find any traces of the Yara, 
but though he searched every clump of bushes, and looked 
up every tree, everything was empty, and the only voices 
he heard were those of parrots, which are so ugly that they 
only drive people away. 

'I think I must be mad/ he said to himself, 'and have 
dreamt all that folly'; and going back to the city he 
began his daily work. But either that was harder than 
usual, or he must be ill, for he could not fix his mind 
upon it, and everybody he came across during the day 
inquired if anything had happened to give him that white, 
frightened look. 

' I must be feverish/ he said to himself ; < after all, it is 
rather dangerous to take a cold bath when one is feeling 
so hot.' Yet he knew, while he said it, that he was count- 
ing the hours for night to come, that he might return to 
the forest. 

In the evening he went as usual to the creeper-covered 
house. But he had better have stayed away, as his face 
was so pale and his manner so strange, that the poor girl 
saw that something terrible had occurred. Alonzo, how- 



THE STORY OF THE TAR A 97 

ever, refused to answer any of her questions, and all she 
could get was a promise to hear everything next day. 

On pretence of a violent headache, he left Julia much 
earlier than usual and hurried quickly home. Taking 
down a pistol he loaded it and put it in his belt, and a 
little before midnight he stole out on the tips of his toes, 
so as to disturb nobody. Once outside he hastened down 
the road which led to the forest. 

He did not stop till he had reached the river pool, 
when, holding the pistol in his hand, he looked about 
him. At every little noise — the falling of a leaf, the rustle 
of an animal in the bushes, the cry of a night-bird — he 
sprang up and cocked his pistol in the direction of the 
sound. But though the moon still shone he saw nothing, 
and by-and-by a kind of dreamy state seemed to steal 
over him as he leant against a tree. 

How long he remained in this condition he could not 
have told, but suddenly he awoke with a start, on hearing 
his name uttered softly. 

1 Who is that ? ' he cried, standing upright instantly ; 
but only an echo answered him. Then his eyes grew 
fascinated with the dark waters of the pool close to his 
feet, and he looked at it as if he could never look 
away. 

He gazed steadily into the depths for some minutes, 
when he became aware that down in the darkness was 
a bright spark, which got rapidly bigger and brighter. 
Again that feeling of awful fear took possession of him, 
and he tried to turn his eyes from the pool. But it was 
no use ; something stronger than himself compelled him 
to keep them there. 

At last the waters parted softly, and floating on the 
surface he saw the beautiful woman whom he had fled 
from only a few nights before. He turned to run, but his 
feet were glued to the spot. 

She smiled at him and held out her arms, but as she 
did so there came over him the remembrance of Julia, 

BR. u 



98 THE STORY OF THE YARA 

as he had seen her a few hours earlier, and her warnings 
and fears for the very danger in which he now found 
himself. 

Meanwhile the figure was always drawing nearer, 
nearer; but, with a violent effort, Alonzo shook off his 
stupor, and taking aim at her shoulder he pulled the trigger. 
The report awoke the sleeping echoes, and was repeated 
all through the forest, but the figure smiled still, and went 
on advancing. Again Alonzo fired, and a second time 
the bullet whistled through the air, and the figure ad- 
vanced nearer. A moment more, and she would be at 
his side. 

Then, his pistol being empty, he grasped the barrel 
with both hands, and stood ready to use it as a club 
should the Yara approach any closer. But now it 
seemed her turn to feel afraid, for she paused for an 
instant while he pressed forward, still holding the pistol 
above his head, prepared to strike. 

In his excitement he had forgotten the river, and it 
was not till the cold water touched his feet that he stood 
still by instinct. The Yara saw that he was wavering, 
and suffering herself to sway gently backwards and 
forwards on the surface of the river, she began to sing. 
The song floated through the trees, now far and now 
near; no one could tell whence it came, the whole air 
seemed full of it. Alonzo felt his senses going and 
his will failing. His arms dropped heavily to his side, 
but in falling struck against the sea shell, which, as he 
had promised Julia, he had always carried in his coat. 

His dimmed mind was just clear enough to remember 
what she had said, and with trembling fingers, that were 
almost powerless to grasp, he drew it out. As he did so 
the song grew sweeter and more tender than before, but 
he shut his ears to it and bent his head over the shell. 
Out of its depths arose the voice of Julia singing to him as 
she had sung when she gave him the shell, and though 
the notes sounded faint at first, they swelled louder and 



THE STORY OF THE TAR A 99 

louder till the mist which had gathered about him was 
blown away. 

Then he raised his head, feeling that he had been 
through strange places, where he could never wander any 
more ; and he held himself erect and strong, and looked 
about him. Nothing was to be seen but the shining of 
the river, and the dark shadows of the trees; nothing 
was to be heard but the hum of the insects, as they 
darted through the night. 

[Adapted from Folklore Bresilien.] 



b2 



THE CUNNING HARE 

In a very cold country, far across the seas, where ice 
and snow cover the ground for many months in the 
year, there lived a little hare, who, as his father and 
mother were both dead, was brought up by his grand- 
mother. As he was too young, and she was too old, to 
work, they were very poor, and often did not have enough 
to eat. 

One day, when the little fellow was hungrier than 
usual, he asked his grandmother if he might not go down 
to the river and catch a fish for their breakfast, as the 
thaw had come and the water was flowing freely again. 
She laughed at him for thinking that any fish would let 
itself be caught by a hare, especially such a young one ; 
but as she had the rheumatism very badly, and could get 
no food herself, she let him go. ' If he does not catch a 
fish he may find something else/ she said to herself. So 
she told her grandson where to look for the net, and how 
he was to set it across the river ; but just as he was start- 
ing, feeling himself quite a man, she called him back. 

* After all, I don't know what is the use of your going, 
my boy ! For even if you should catch a fish, I have no 
fire to cook it with/ 

1 Let me catch my fish, and I will soon make you a fire,' 
he answered gaily, for he was young, and knew nothing 
about the difficulties of fire-making. 

It took him some time to haul the net through bushes 
and over fields, but at length he reached a pool in the 
river which he had often heard was swarming with fish, 

100 



THE CUNNING HABE 103 

and here lie set the net, as his grandmother had directed 
him. 

He was so excited that he hardly slept all night, and 
at the very first streak of dawn he ran as fast as ever he 
could down to the river. His heart beat as quickly as if 
he had had dogs behind him, and he hardly dared to look, 
lest he should be disappointed. Would there be even one 
fish ? And at this thought the pangs of hunger made him 
feel quite sick with fear. But he need not have been 
afraid ; in every mesh of the net was a fine fat fish, and of 
course the net itself was so heavy that he could only lift 
one corner. He threw some of the fish back into the 
water, and buried some more in a hole under a stone, 
where he would be sure to find them. Then he rolled up 
the net with the rest, put it on his back and carried it 
home. The weight of the load caused his back to ache, 
and he was thankful to drop it outside their hut, while he 
rushed in, full of joy, to tell his grandmother. l Be quick 
and clean them ! ' he said, l and I will go to those people's 
tents on the other side of the water.' 

The old woman stared at him in horror as she listened 
to his proposal. Other people had tried to steal fire 
before, and few indeed had come back with their lives ; 
but as, contrary to all her expectations, he had managed 
to catch such a number of fish, she thought that perhaps 
there was some magic about him which she did not know 
of, and did not try to hinder him. 

When the fish were all taken out, he fetched the 
net which he had laid out to dry, folded it up very 
small, and ran down to the river, hoping that he might 
find a place narrow enough for him to jump over; but he 
soon saw that it was too wide for even the best jumper 
in the world. For a few moments he stood there, wonder- 
ing what was to be done, then there darted into his head 
some words of a spell which he had once heard a wizard 
use, while drinking from the river. He repeated them, 
as well as he could remember, and waited to see what 



104 THE GUNNING HARE 

would happen. In five minutes such a grunting and 
a puffing was heard, and columns of water rose into 
the air, though he could not tell what had made them. 
Then round the bend of the stream came fifteen huge 
whales, which he ordered to place themselves heads to 
tails, like stepping stones, so that he could jump from one 
to the other till he landed on the opposite shore. Directly 
he got there he told the whales that he did not need 
them any more, and sat down in the sand to rest. 

-Unluckily some children who were playing about 
caught sight of him, and one of them, stealing softly up 
behind him, laid tight hold of his ears. The hare, who 
had been watching the whales as they sailed down the 
river, gave a violent start, and struggled to get away ; but 
the boy held on tight, and ran back home, as fast as he 
could go. 

1 Throw it in the pot/ said the old woman, as soon as 
he had told his story ; 'put it in that basket, and as soon 
as the water boils in the pot we will hang it over the 
fire ! ' 

1 Better kill it first,' said the old man ; and the hare 
listened, horribly frightened, but still looking secretly to 
see if there was no hole through which he could escape, 
if he had a chance of doing so. Yes, there was one, right 
in the top of the tent, so, shaking himself, as if with 
fright, he let the end of his net unroll itself a little. 

'I wish that a spark of fire would fall on my net/ 
whispered he ; and the next minute a great log fell forward 
into the midst of the tent, causing everyone to spring 
backwards. The sparks were scattered in every direction, 
and one fell on the net, making a little blaze. In an 
instant the hare had leaped through the hole, and was 
racing towards the river, with men, women, and children 
after him. There was no time to call back the whales, so, 
holding the net tight in his mouth, he wished himself 
across the river. Then he jumped high into the air, and 
landed safe on the other side, and after turning round to 



THE CUNNING HARE 105 

be sure that there was no chance of anyone pursuing him, 
trotted happily home to his grandmother. 

' Didn't I tell you I would bring you fire ? ; said he, 
holding up his net, which was now burning briskly. 

'But how did you cross the water ? ; inquired the old 
woman. 

1 Oh, I just jumped ! ' said he. And his grandmother 
asked him no more questions, for she saw that he was 
wiser than she. 

[' Indian Folk Tales.' Bureau of Ethnology. "\ 



TEE TURTLE AND EIS BRIDE 

There was once a turtle who lived among a great many 
people of different kinds, in a large camp near a big 
river which was bom right up amongst the snows, and 
flowed straight away south till it reached a sea where 
the water was, always hot. 

There were many other turtles in the camp, and this 
turtle was kind and pleasant to them all, but he did not 
care for any of them very much, and felt rather lonely. 

At last he built himself a hut, and filled it with skins 
for seats, and made it as comfortable as any hut for miles 
round; and when it was quite finished he looked about 
among the young women to see which of them he should 
ask to be his wife. 

It took him some time to make up his mind, for no 
turtle likes being hurried,, but at length he found one girl 
who seemed prettier and more industrious than the rest, 
and one day he entered her home, and said: 'Will you 
marry me?' 

The young woman was so surprised at this question 
that she dropped the beaded slipper she was making, and 
stared at the turtle. She felt inclined to laugh — the idea 
was so absurd ; but she was kind-hearted and polite, so 
she looked as grave as she could, and answered : 

' But how are you going to provide for a family ? 
Why, when the camp moves, you will not even be able to 
keep up with the rest ! ' 

( I can keep up with the best of them/ replied the 

106 



THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 107 

% 

turtle, tossing his head. But though he was very much 

offended he did not let the girl see it, and begged and 
prayed her so hard to marry him that, at last, she con- 
sented, very unwillingly. 

'You will have to wait till the spring, though/ she 
said ; ' I must make a great many slippers and dresses for 
myself, as I shall not have much time afterwards. 5 

This did not please the turtle ; but he knew it was no 
use talking, so all he answered was : 

( I shall go to war and take some captives, and I shall 
be away several months. And when I return I shall 
expect you to be ready to marry me.' 

So he went back to his hut, and at once set about his 
preparations. The first thing he did was to call all his 
relations together, and ask them if they would come 
with him and make war on the people of a neighbouring 
village. The turtles, who were tired of doing nothing, 
agreed at once, and next day the whole tribe left the 
camp. The girl was standing at the door of her hut as 
they passed, and laughed out loud — they moved so slowly. 
Her lover, who was marching at the head, grew very 
angry at this, and cried out : 

'In four days from now you will be weeping instead 
of laughing, because there will be hundreds of miles 
between you and me.' 

1 In four days/ replied the girl — who had only promised 
to marry him in order to get rid of him — ' in four days 
you will hardly be out of sight.' 

' Oh, I did not mean four days, but four years/ 
answered the turtle, hastily ; ' whatever happens I shall 
be back by then.' 

The army marched on, till one day, when they felt 
as if they must have got half round the earth, though 
they were scarcely four miles from the camp, they found a 
large tree lying across their path. They looked at it with 
dismay, and the oldest among them put their heads 
together to see what was to be done. - 



108 THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 



' Can't we manage to get past by the top?' asked 
one. 




'Why, it would take us years/ exclaimed another. 
Just look at all those tall green branches, spreading in 



THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 109 

every direction. If once we got entangled in them, we 
should never get out again ! ' 

'Well, then, let us go round by the bottom/ said a 
third. 

'How are we to do that, when the roots have made 
a deep hole, and above that is a high bank ? ' replied a 
fourth. ' No ; the only way / can think of, is to burn a 
large hole in the trunk.' And this they did, but the trunk 
was very thick, and would not burn through. 

' It is no use, we must give it up/ they agreed at last. 
' After all, nobody need ever know ! We have been away 
such a long while that we might easily have had all sorts 
of adventures.' And so the whole company turned home- 
wards again. 

They took even longer to go back than they had to 
come, for they were tired and footsore with their journey. 
When they drew near the camp they plucked up their 
courage, and began to sing a war-song. At this the 
villagers came nocking to see what spoils the turtles had 
won, but, as they approached, each turtle seized someone 
by the wrist, exclaiming : ' You are our spoils ; you are 
our prisoners ! ' 

'Now that I have got you I will keep you/ said the 
leader, who had happened to seize his betrothed. 

Everybody was naturally very angry at this behaviour, 
and the girl most of all, and in her secret heart she 
determined to have her revenge. But, just at present, the 
turtles were too strong, so the prisoners had to put on 
their smartest slippers and their brightest clothes, and 
dance a war dance while the turtles sang. They danced 
so long that it seemed as if they would never stop, till 
the turtle who was leading the singing suddenly broke 
into a loud chant : 

Whoever comes here, will die, will die ! 
At this all the dancers grew so frightened that they 



110 THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 

burst through, the ring of their captors, arid ran back to 
the village, the turtles following — very slowly. On the 
way the chief turtle met a man, who said to him : 

'That woman who was to have been your wife has 
married another man ! ' 

' Is that true ? ' said the turtle. ' Then I must see 
him/ 

But as soon as the villager was out of sight the turtle 
stopped, and taking a bundle containing fringes and 
ornaments from his back, he hung them about him, so 
that they rattled as he walked. When he was quite close 
to the hut where the woman lived, he cried out : 

' Here I am to claim the woman who promised to be 
my wife.' 

'Oh, here is the turtle/ whispered the husband 
hurriedly ; ' what is to be done now ? ' 

' Leave that to me ; I will manage him/ replied the 
wife, and at that moment the turtle came in, and seized 
her by the wrist. * Come with me/ he said sternly. 

'You broke your promise/ answered she. 'You said 
you would be back soon, and it is more than a year since 
you went ! How was I to know that you were alive ? ' 

At her words the husband took courage, and spoke 
hastily : 

' Yes, you promised you 'would go to war and bring 
back some ' prisoners, and you have not done it.' 

'I did go, and made many prisoners/ retorted the 
turtle angrily, drawing out his knife. ' Look here, if she 
won't be my wife, she sha'n't be yours. I will cut her in 
two ; and you shall have one half, and I the other/ 

'But half a woman is no use to me/ answered the 
manj 'If you want her so much you had better take 
her.' And the turtle, followed by his relations, carried 
her off to his own hut. 

Now the woman saw she would gain nothing by being 
sulky, so she pretended to be very glad to have got rid of 
her husband ; but all the while she was trying to invent a 



THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 113 

plan to deliver herself from the turtle. At length she re- 
membered that one of her friends had a large iron pot, 
and when the turtle had gone to his room to put away his 
fringes, she ran over to her neighbour's and brought it 
back. Then she filled it with water and hung it over the 
fire to boil. It was just beginning to bubble and hiss 
when the turtle entered. 

* What are you doing there ? ; asked he, for he was 
always afraid of things that he did not understand. 

'Just warming some water/ she answered. 'Do you 
know how to swim ? ' 

1 Yes, of course I do. What a question ! But what 
does it matter to you ? ' said the turtle, more suspicious 
than ever. 

1 Oh, I only thought that after your long journey you 
might like to wash. The roads are so muddy, after the 
winter's rains. I could rub your shell for you till it was 
bright and shining again.' 

' Well, I am rather muddy. If one is fighting, you 
know, one cannot stop to pick one's way. I should 
certainly be more comfortable if my back was washed.' 

The woman did not wait for him to change his mind. 
She caught him up by his shell and popped him straight 
into the pot, where he sank to the bottom, and died 
instantly. 

The other turtles, who were standing at the door, 
saw their leader disappear, and felt it was their duty as 
soldiers to follow him ; and, springing into the pot, died 
too. All but one young turtle, who was so frightened at 
not seeing any of his friends come out again, went as fast 
as he could to a clump of bushes, and from there made 
his way to the river. His only thought was to get away 
as far as possible from that dreadful hut ; so he let the 
river carry him where it was going itself, and at last, one 
day, he found himself in the warm sea, where, if he is 
not dead, you may meet him still. 

[Bureau of Ethnology.'] 
BR. I 



HOW aUIBALD THE COWARD WAS 
PUNISHED 

Once upon a time there lived a poor knight who had 
a great many children, and found it very hard to get 
enough for them to eat. One day he sent his eldest son, 
Rosald, a brave and honest youth, to the neighbouring 
town to do some business, and here Rosald met a young 
man named Geirald, with whom he made friends. 

Now Geirald was the son of a rich man, who was 
proud of the boy, and had all his life allowed him to do 
whatever he fancied, and, luckily for the father, he was 
prudent and sensible, and did not waste money, as many 
other rich young men might have done. For some time 
he had set his heart on travelling into foreign countries, 
and after he had been talking for a little while to Rosald, 
he asked if his new friend would be his companion on his 
journey. 

' There is nothing I should like better/ answered 
Rosald, shaking his head sorrowfully ; ' but my father is 
very poor, and he could never give me the money.' 

' Oh, if that is your only difficulty, it is all right/ 
cried Geirald. ' My father has more money than he knows 
what to do with, and he will give me as much as I want 
for both of us ; only, there is one thing you must promise 
me, Rosald, that, supposing we have any adventures, you 
will let the honour and glory of them fall to me.' 

'Yes, of course, that is only fair/ answered Rosald, 
who never cared about putting himself forward. ' But I 
cannot go without telling my parents. I am sure they 
will think me lucky to get such a chance/ 

114 



GEIRALD THE COWARD 115 

As soon as the business was finished, Rosald hastened 
home. His parents were delighted to hear of his good 
fortune, and his father gave him his own sword, which 
was growing rusty for want of use, while his mother saw 
that his leather jerkin was in order. 

' Be sure you keep the promise you made to Geirald/ 
said she, as she bade him good-bye, ' and, come what may, 
see that you never betray him/ 

Full of joy Rosald rode off, and the next day he and 
Geirald started off to seek adventures. To their disap- 
pointment their own land was so well governed that 
nothing out of the common was very likely to happen, 
but directly they crossed the border into another kingdom 
all seemed lawlessness and confusion. 

They had not gone very far, when, riding across a 
mountain, they caught a glimpse of several armed men 
hiding amongst some trees in their path, and remembered 
suddenly some talk they had heard of a band of twelve 
robbers who lay in wait for rich travellers. The robbers 
were more like savage beasts than men, and lived some- 
where at the top of the mountain in caves and holes in 
the ground. They were all called 'Hankur/ and were 
distinguished one from another by the name of a colour 
— blue, grey, red, and so on, except their chief, who was 
known as Hankur the Tall. All this and more rushed 
into the minds of the two young men as they saw the 
flash of their swords in the moonlight. 

' It is impossible to fight them — they are twelve to two/ 
whispered Geirald, stopping his horse in the path. ' We 
had much better ride back and take the lower road. It 
-would be stupid to throw away our lives like this/ 

' Oh, we can't turn back/ answered Eosald, ' we should 
be ashamed to look anyone in the face again ! And, besides, 
it is a grand opportunity to show what we are made of. 
Let us tie up our horses here, and climb up the rocks so 
that we can roll stones down on them.' 

'Well, we might try that, and then we shall always 

i2 



116 QEIRALD THE COWARD 

have our horses/ said Geirald. So they went up the rocks 
silently and carefully. 

The robbers were lying all ready, expecting every 
moment to see their victims coming round the corner a 
few yards away, when a shower of huge stones fell on 
their heads, killing half the band. The others sprang up 
the rock, but as they reached the top the sword of Eosald 
swung round, and one man after another rolled down into 
the valley. At last the chief managed to spring up, and, 
grasping Rosald by the waist, flung away his sword, and 
the two fought desperately, their bodies swaying always 
nearer the edge. It seemed as if Rosald, being the 
smaller of the two, must fall over, when, with his left 
hand, he drew the robber's sword out of its sheath and 
plunged it into his heart. Then he took from the dead 
man a beautiful ring set with a large stone, and put it 'on 
his own finger. 

The fame of this wonderful deed soon spread through 
the country, and people would often stop Geirald's horse, 
and ask leave to see the robber's ring, which was said to 
have been stolen from the father of the reigning king. 
And Geirald showed them the ring with pride, and listened 
to their words of praise, and no one would ever have 
guessed anyone else had destroyed the robbers. 

In a few days they left that kingdom and rode on to 
another, where they thought they would stop through the 
remainder of the winter, for Geirald liked to be comfort- 
able, and did not care about travelling through ice and 
snow. But the king would only grant them leave to stop 
on condition that, before the winter was ended, they should 
give him some fresh proof of the courage of which he had 
heard so much. Eosald's heart was glad at the king's 
message, and as for Geirald, he felt that as long as Eosald 
was there all would go well. So they both bowed low 
and replied that it was the king's place to command and 
theirs to obey. 

'Well, then,' said his Majesty, 'this is what I want 



GEIRALD THE COWARD 111 

you to do: In the north-east part of my kingdom there 
dwells a giant, who has an iron staff twenty yards long, 
and he is so quick in using it, that even fifty knights have 
no chance against him. The bravest and strongest young 
men of my court have fallen under the blows of that staff ; 
but, as you overcame the twelve robbers so easily, I feel 
that I have reason to hope that you may be able to 
conquer the giant. In three days from this you will 
set out/ 

f We will be ready, your Majesty/ answered Rosald; 
but Geirald remained silent. 

' How can we possibly fight against a giant that has 
killed fifty knights ? ' cried Geirald, when they were outside 
the castle. ' The king only wants to get rid of us ! He 
won't think about us for the next three days — that is 
one comfort — so we shall have plenty of time to cross the 
borders of the kingdom and be out of his reach.' 

'We mayn't be able to kill the giant, but we cer- 
tainly can't run away till we have tried,' answered Rosald. 
'Besides, think how glorious it will be if we do manage 
to kill him! I know what sort of weapon I shall use. 
Come with me now, and I will see about it.' And, taking 
his friend by the arm, he led him into a shop where he 
bought a huge lump of solid iron, so big that they could 
hardly lift it between them. However, they just managed 
to carry it to a blacksmith's where Rosald directed that it 
should be beaten into a thick club, with a sharp spike 
at one end. When this was done to his liking he took it 
home under his arm. 

Very early on the third morning the two young men 
started on their journey, and on the fourth day they 
reached the giant's cave before he was out of bed. 
Hearing the sound of footsteps, the giant got up and 
went to the entrance to see who was coming, and Rosald, 
expecting something of the sort, struck him such a blow 



118 GEIRALD THE COWARD 

on the forehead that he fell to the ground. Then, before 
he could rise to his feet again, Kosald drew out his sword 
and cut off his head. 

'It was not so difficult after all, you see,' he said, 
turning to Geirald. And placing the giant's head in a 
leathern wallet which was slung over his back, they 
began their journey to the castle. 

As they drew near the gates, Eosald took the head 
from the wallet and handed it to Geirald, whom he 
followed into the king's presence. 

'The giant will trouble you no more,' said Geirald, 
holding out the head. And the king fell on his neck and 
kissed him, and cried joyfully that he was the bravest 
knight in all the world, and that a feast should be made 
for him and Rosald, and that the great deed should be 
proclaimed throughout the kingdom. And Geirald's heart 
swelled with pride, and he almost forgot that it was 
Eosald and not he, who had slain the giant. 

By-and-by a whisper went round that a beautiful 
lady who lived in the castle would be present at the 
feast, with twenty-four lovely maidens, her attendants. 
The lady was the queen of her own country, but as her 
father and mother had died when she was a little girl, she 
had been left in the care of this king who was her uncle. 

She was now old enough to govern her own kingdom, 
but her subjects did not like being ruled by a woman, and 
said that she must find a husband to help her in managing 
her affairs. Prince after prince had offered himself, but 
the young queen would have nothing to say to any of 
them,-and at last told her ministers that if she was to 
have a husband at all she must choose him for herself, as 
she would certainly not marry any of those whom they 
had selected for her. The ministers replied that in that 
case she had better manage her kingdom alone, and the 
queen, who knew nothing about business, got things into 
such a confusion that at last she threw them up alto- 
gether, and went off to her uncle. 



GEIRALD THE COWARD 



119 



Now when she heard how the two young men had 
slain the giant, her heart was filled with admiration of 




their courage, and she declared that if a feast was held 
she would certainly be present at it. 
And so she was; and when the feast was over she 



120 GEIRALD THE COWARD 

asked the king, her guardian, if he would allow the two 
heroes who had killed the robbers and slain the giant to 
fight a tourney the next day with one of her pages. The 
king gladly gave his consent, and ordered the lists to be 
made ready, never doubting that two great champions could 
be eager for such a chance of adding to their fame. Little 
did he guess that Geirald had done all he could to per- 
suade Eosald to steal secretly out of the castle during the 
night, l for/ said he, ' I don't believe they are pages at all, 
but well-proved knights, and how can we, so young and 
untried, stand up against them ? ' 

1 The honour will be all the higher, if we gain the day/ 
answered Eosald ; but Geirald would listen to nothing, 
and only declared that he did not care about honour, and 
would rather be alive than have every honour in the 
world heaped on him. Go he would, and as Eosald had 
sworn to give him his company, he must come with him. 

Eosald was much grieved when he heard these words, 
but he knew that it was useless attempting to persuade 
Geirald, and turned his thoughts to forming some plan 
to prevent this disgraceful flight. Suddenly his face 
brightened. 'Let us change clothes/ he said, l and I will 
do the fighting, while you shall get the glory. Nobody 
will ever know.' And to this Geirald readily consented. 

Whether Geirald was right or not in thinking that the 
so-called page was really a well-proved knight, it is certain 
that Eosald's task was a very hard one. Three times they 
came together with a crash which made their horses reel ; 
once Eosald knocked the helmet off his foe, and received 
in return such a blow that he staggered in his saddle. 
Shouts went up from the lookers-on, as first one and then 
the other seemed gaining the victory ; but at length Eosald 
planted his spear in the armour which covered his adver- 
sary's breast and bore him steadily backward. < Unhorsed ! 
unhorsed ! ' cried the people ; and Eosald then himself 
dismounted and helped his adversary to rise. 

In the confusion that followed it was easy for Eosald 



GEIRALD THE COWARD 123 

to slip away and return Geirald his proper clothes. And 
in these, torn and dusty with the light, Geirald answered 
the king's summons to come before him. 

' You have done what I expected you to do,' said he, 
' and now, choose your reward.' 

* Grant me, sire, the hand of the queen, your niece,' 
replied the young man, bowing low, 'and I will defend 
her kingdom against all her enemies.' 

' She could choose no better husband,' said the king, 
1 and if she consents I do.' And he turned towards the 
queen, who had not been present during the fight, but 
had just slipped into a seat by his right hand. Now the 
queen's eyes were very sharp, and it seemed to her that 
the man who stood before her, tall and handsome though 
he might be, was different in many slight ways, and in 
one in particular, from the man who had fought the 
tourney. How there could be any trickery she could not 
understand, and why the real victor should be willing to 
give up his prize to another was still stranger ; but some- 
thing in her heart warned her to be careful. She answered : 
' You may be satisfied, uncle, but I am not. One more 
proof I must have ; let the two young men now fight 
against each other. The man I marry must be the man 
who killed the robbers and the giant, and overcame my 
page.' Geirald's face grew pale as he heard these words. 
He knew there was no escape for him now, though he did 
not doubt for one moment that Kosald would keep his 
compact loyally to the last. But how would it be possible 
that even Rosald should deceive the watchful eyes of the 
king and his court, and still more those of the young 
queen whom he felt uneasily had suspected him from the 
first. 

The tourney was fought, and in spite of Geirald's fears 
Kosald managed to hang back to make attacks which were 
never meant to succeed, and to allow strokes which he 
could easily have parried to attain their end. At length, 
after a great show of resistance, he fell heavily to the 



124 GEIRALD THE COWARD 

ground. And as lie fell he knew that it was not alone 
the glory that was his rightfully which he gave up, but 
the hand of the queen that was more precious still. 

But Geirald did not even wait to see if he was 
wounded ; he went straight to the wall where the royal 
banner waved and claimed the reward which was now his. 

The crowd of watchers turned towards the queen, 
expecting to see her stoop and give some token to the 
victor. Instead, to the surprise of everyone, she merely 
smiled gracefully, and said that before she bestowed her 
hand one more test must be imposed, but this should be 
the last. The final tourney should be fought; Geirald 
and Rosald should meet singly two knights of the king's 
court, and he who could unhorse his foe should be master 
of herself and of her kingdom. The combat was fixed to 
take place at ten o'clock the following day. 

All night long Geirald walked about his room, not 
daring to face the fight that lay in front of him, and 
trying with all his might to discover some means of 
escaping it. All night long he moved restlessly from 
door to window ; and when the trumpets sounded, and the 
combatants rode into the field, he alone was missing. 
The king sent messengers to see what had become of him, 
and he was found, trembling with fear, hiding under his 
bed. After that there was no need of any further proof. 
The combat was declared unnecessary, and the queen 
pronounced herself quite satisfied, and ready to accept 
Eosald as her husband. 

'You forgot one thing,' she said, when they were 
alone. ' I recognised my father's ring which Hankur the 
Tall had stolen, on the finger of your right hand, and I 
knew that it was you and not Geirald who had slain the 
robber band. I was the page who fought you, and again 
I saw the ring on your finger, though it was absent from 
his when he stood before me to claim the prize. That 
was why I ordered the combat between you, though your 
faith to your word prevented my plan being successful, 



GEIRALD THE COWARD 125 

and I had to try another. The man who keeps his 
promise at all costs to himself is the man I can trust, both 
for myself and for my people/ 

So they were married, and returned to their own 
kingdom, which they ruled well and happily. And many 
years after a poor beggar knocked at the palace gates and 
asked for money, for the sake of days gone by — and this 
was Geirald. 

[From Neuislandischem Yolksmdrchen.] 



EABOai 

Once upon a time there lived two peasants who had 
three daughters, and, as generally happens, the youngest 
was the most beautiful and the best tempered, and when 
her sisters wanted to go out she was always ready to stay 
at home and do their work. 

Years passed quickly with the whole family, and one 
day the parents suddenly perceived that all three girls 
were grown up, and that very soon they would be thinking 
of marriage. 

'Have you decided what your husband's name is to 
be ? ' said the father, laughingly, to his eldest daughter, 
one evening when they were all sitting at the door of 
their cottage. 'You know that is a very important 
point ! ' 

1 Yes ; I will never wed any man who is not called 
Sigmund/ answered she. 

1 Well, it is lucky for you that there are a great many 
Sigmunds in this part of the world/ replied her father, 
' so that you can take your choice ! And what do you 
say ? ' he added, turning to the second. 

1 Oh, I think that there is no name so beautiful as 
Sigurd/ cried she. 

' Then you won't be an old maid either/ answered he. 
' There are seven Sigurd s in the next village alone ! And 
you, Helga ? ' 

Helga, who was still the prettiest of the three, looked 
up. She also had her favourite name, but, just as she 
was going to say it, she seemed to hear a voice whisper : 
' Marry no one who is not called Habogi.' 

126 



HABOGI 127 

The girl had never heard of such a name, and did not 
like it, so she determined to pay no attention ; but as she 
opened her mouth to tell her father that her husband 
must be called Njal, she found herself answering instead : 
' If I do marry it will be to no one except Habogi.' 
f ' Who is Habogi ? ' asked her father and sisters ; ' We 
never heard of such a person.' 

' All I can tell you is that he will be my husband, if 
ever I have one,' returned Helga ; and that was all she 
would say. 

Before very long the young men who lived in the 
neighbouring villages or on the sides of the mountains, 
had heard of this talk of the three girls, and Sigmunds 
and Sigurds in scores came to visit the little cottage. 
There were other young men too, who bore different names, 
though not one of them was called ' Habogi/ and these 
thought that they might perhaps gain the heart of the 
youngest. But though there was more than one 'Njal' 
amongst them, Helga's eyes seemed always turned another 
way. 

At length Ihe two elder sisters made their choice from 
out of the Sigurds and the Sigmunds, and it was decided 
that both weddings should take place at the same time. 
Invitations were sent out to the friends and relations, 
and when, on the morning of the great day, they were all 
assembled, a rough, coarse old peasant left the crowd and 
came up to the brides' father. 

'My name is Habogi, and Helga must be my wife,' 
was all he said. And though Helga stood pale and 
trembling with surprise, she did not try to run away. 

'I cannot talk of such things just now,' answered the 
father, who could not bear the thought of giving his 
favourite daughter to this horrible old man, and hoped, 
by putting it off, that something might happen. • But the 
sisters, who had always been rather jealous of Helga, 
were secretly pleased that their bridegrooms should out- 
shine hers. 



128 HABOGI 

When the feast was over, Habogi led up a beautiful 
horse from a field where he had left it to graze, and bade 
Helga jump up on its splendid saddle, all embroidered in 
scarlet and gold. ' You shall come back again/ said he ; 
' but now you must see the house that you are to live in.' 
And though Helga was very unwilling to go, something 
inside her forced her to obey. 

The old man settled her comfortably, then sprang up 
in front of her as easily as if he had been a boy, and, 
shaking the reins, they were soon out of sight. 

After some miles they rode through a meadow,* with 
grass so green that Helga's eyes felt quite dazzled ; and 
feeding on the grass were a quantity of large fat sheep, 
with the curliest and whitest wool in the world. 

1 What lovely sheep ! whose are they ? ' cried Helga. 

' Your Habogi's/ answered he, i all that you see 
belongs to him ; but the finest sheep in the whole herd, 
which has little golden bells hanging between its horns, 
you shall have for yourself/ 

This pleased Helga very much, for she had never had 
anything of her own ; and she smiled quite happily as she 
thanked Habogi for his present. 

They soon left the sheep behind them, and entered a 
large field with a river running through it, where a 
number of beautiful grey cows were standing by a gate 
waiting for a milk-maid to come and milk them. 

' Oh, what lovely cows ! ' cried Helga again ; ( I am sure 
their milk must be sweeter than any other cows/ How 
I should like to have some ! I wonder to whom they 
belong ? ' 

' To your Habogi/ replied he ; ( and some day j^ou 
shall have as much milk as you like, but we cannot stop 
now. Do you see that big grey one, with the silver bells 
between her horns ? That is to be yours, and you can 
have her milked every morning the moment you wake/ 

And Helga's eyes shone, and though she did not say 



HABOGI 129 

anything, she thought that she would learn to milk the 
cow herself. 

A mile further on they came to a wide common, with 
short, springy turf, where horses of all colours, with skins 
of satin, were kicking up their heels in play. The sight 
of them so delighted Helga that she nearly sprang from 
her saddle with a shriek of joy. 

' Whose are they ? Oh ! whose are they ? ' she asked. 
' How happy any man must be who is the master of such 
lovely creatures ! ' 

' They are your Habogi's,' replied he, ' and the one 
which you think the most beautiful of all you shall have 
for yourself, and learn to ride him.' 

At this Helga quite forgot the sheep and the cow. 

' A horse of my own ! ' said she. ' Oh, stop one moment, 
and let me see which I will choose. The white one ? No. 
The chestnut ? No. I think, after all, I like the coal-black 
one best, with the little white star on his forehead. Oh, 
do stop, just for a minute.' 

But Habogi would not stop or listen. 'When you 
are married you will have plenty of time to choose one,' 
was all he answered, and they rode on two or three miles 
further. 

At length Habogi drew rein before a small house, very 
ugly and mean-looking, and that seemed on the point of 
tumbling to pieces. 

1 This is my house, and is to be yours/ said Habogi, 
as he jumped down and held out his arms to lift Helga 
from the horse. The girl's heart sank a little, as she 
thought that the man who possessed such wonderful 
sheep, and cows, and horses, might have built himself a 
prettier place to live in ; but she did not say so. And, 
taking her arm, he led her up the steps. 

But when she got inside, she stood quite bewildered 
at the beauty of all around her. None of her friends 
owned such things, not even the miller, who was the 
richest man she knew. There were carpets everywhere, 

BR K 



130 HABOGI 

thick and soft, and of deep rich colours ; and the cushions 
were of silk, and made you sleepy even to look at them ; 
and curious little figures in china were scattered about. 
Helga felt as if it would take her all her life to see every- 
thing properly, and it only seemed a second since she 
had entered the house, when Habogi came up to her. 

'I must begin the preparations for our wedding at 
once/ he said ; ( but my foster-brother will take you home, 
as I promised. In three days he will bring you back here, 
with your parents and sisters, and any guests you may 
invite, in your company. By that time the feast will be 
ready.' 

Helga had so much to think about, that the ride 
home appeared very short. Her father and mother were 
delighted to see her, as they did not feel sure that so 
ugly and cross-looking a man as Habogi might not have 
played her some cruel trick. And after they had given her 
some supper they begged her to tell them all she had 
done. But Helga only told them that they should see 
for themselves on the third day, when they would come 
to her wedding. 

* It was very early in the morning when the party set 
out, and Helga's two sisters grew green with envy as 
they passed the flocks of sheep, and cows, and horses, and 
heard that the best of each was given to Helga herself; 
but when they caught sight of the poor little house which 
was to be her home their hearts grew light again. 

'I should be ashamed of living in such a place/ 
whispered each to the other; and the eldest sister spoke 
of the carved stone over her doorway, and the second 
boasted of the number of rooms she had. But the 
moment they went inside they were struck dumb with 
rage at the splendour of everything, and their faces grew 
white and cold with fury when they saw the dress which 
Habogi had prepared for his bride — a dress that glittered 
like sunbeams dancing upon ice. 

* She shall not look so much finer than us/ they cried 




\\ %he< "3ea\ous listers, 
„•*> spell-bouatL '♦'° .*". 
°* it\ the .Ashpit °u' 



HABOGI 133 

passionately to each other as soon as they were alone ; 
and when night came they stole out of their rooms, and 
taking out the wedding-dress, they laid it in the ash-pit, 
and heaped ashes upon it. But Habogi, who knew a little 
magic, and had guessed what they would do, changed the 
ashes into roses, and cast a spell over the sisters, so that 
they could not leave the spot for a whole day, and every 
one who passed by mocked at them. 

The next morning when they all awoke the ugly 
little tumble-down house had disappeared, and in its place 
stood a splendid palace. The guests' eyes sought in vain 
for the bridegroom, but could only see a handsome young 
man, with a coat of blue velvet and silver and a gold 
crown upon his head. 

1 Who is that ? ' they asked Helga. 

' That is my Habogi/ said she. 

[Neuislandischen Volksmdrchen.] 



HOW THE LITTLE BROTHER SET FREE 
HIS Bia BROTHERS 

In a small hut, right in the middle of the forest, lived 
a man, his wife, three sons and a daughter. For some 
reason, all the animals seemed to have left that part of 
the country, and food grew very scarce ; so, one morning, 
after a night of snow, when the tracks of beasts might be 
easily seen, the three boys started off to hunt. 

They kept together for some time, till they reached a 
place where the path they had been following split into 
two, and one of the brothers called his dog and went to 
the left, while the others took the trail to the right. These 
had not gone far when their dogs scented a bear, and 
drove him out from the thicket. The bear ran across a 
clearing, and the elder brother managed to place an arrow 
right in his head. 

They both took up the bear, and carried it towards 
home, meeting the third at the spot where they had 
parted from him. When they reached home they threw 
the bear down on the floor of the hut saying, 

' Father, here is a bear which we killed ; now we can 
have some dinner/ 

But the father, who was in a bad temper, only said : 

1 When I was a young man we used to get two bears 
in one day.' 

The sons were rather disappointed at hearing this, and 
though there was plenty of meat to last for two or three 
days, they started off early in the morning down the same 
trail that they had followed before. As they drew near 

134 



THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 135 



the fork a bear suddenly ran out from behind a tree, and 
took the path on the right;- The two elder boys and their 




EVERY TIME A BEAR WAS KILLED HIS SHADOW 
RETURNED TO THE HOUSE OF THE CRCAT REftBcCHlEf 



dogs pursued him, and soon the second son, who was also 
a good shot, killed him instantly with an arrow. At the 



136 THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 

fork of the trail, on their way home, they met the 
youngest, who had taken the left-hand road, and had shot 
a bear for himself. But when they threw the two bears 
triumphantly on the floor of the hut their father hardly 
looked at them, and only said : 

' When I was a young man I used to get three bears 
in one day/ 

The next day they were luckier than before, and brought 
back three bears, on which their father told them that he 
had always killed four. However, that did not prevent 
him from skinning the bears and cooking them in a way 
of his own, which he thought very good, and they all ate 
an excellent supper. 

Now these bears were the servants of the great bear 
chief who lived in a high mountain a long way off. And 
every time a bear was killed his shadow returned to the 
house of the bear chief, with the marks of his wounds 
plainly to be seen by the rest. 

The chief was furious at the number of bears the 
hunters had killed, and determined that he would find 
some way of destroying them. So he called another of 
his servants, and said to him : 

' Go to the thicket near the fork, where the boys killed 
your brothers, and directly they or the dogs see you 
return here as fast as ever you can. The mountain will 
open to let you in, and the hunters will follow you. Then 
I shall have them in my power, and be able to revenge 
myself.' 

The servant bowed low, and started at once for the 
fork, where he hid himself in the bushes. 

By-and-by the boys came in sight, but this time there 
were only two of them, as the youngest had stayed at 
home. The air was warm and damp, and the snow soft 
and slushy, and the elder brother's bowstring hung loose, 
while the bow of the younger caught in a tree and 
snapped in half. At that moment the dogs began to bark 
loudly, and the bear rushed out of the thicket and set off 



THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 137 

in the direction of the mountain. Without thinking that 
they had nothing to defend themselves with, should the 
bear turn and attack them, the boys gave chase. The bear, 
who knew quite well that he could not be shot, sometimes 
slackened his pace and let the dogs get quite close ; and 
in this way the elder son reached the mountain without 
observing it, while his brother, who had hurt his foot, was 
still far behind. 

As he ran up, the mountain opened to admit the bear, 
and the boy, who was close on his heels, rushed in after 
him, and did not know where he was till he saw bears 
sitting on every side of him, holding a council. The 
animal he had been chasing sank panting in their midst, 
and the boy, very much frightened, stood still, letting his 
bow fall to the ground. 

' Why are you trying to kill all my servants ? ' asked 
the chief. ' Look round and see their shades, with arrows 
sticking in them. It was I who told the bear to-day how 
he was to lure you into my power. I shall take care that 
you shall not hurt my people any more, because you will 
become a bear yourself/ 

At this moment the second brother came up — for the 
mountain had been left open on purpose to tempt him 
also — and cried out breathlessly : i Don't you see that the 
bear is lying close to you ? Why don't you shoot him ? ' 
And, without waiting for a reply, pressed forward to drive 
his arrow into the heart of the bear. But the elder one 
caught his raised arm, and whispered : ' Be quiet ! can't 
you tell where you are ? ' Then the boy looked up and saw 
the angry bears about him. On the one side were the 
servants of the chief, and on the other the servants of the 
chief's sister, who was sorry for the two youths, and begged 
that their lives might be spared. The chief answered that 
he would not kill them, but only cast a spell over them, by 
which their heads and bodies should remain as they were, 
but their arms and legs should change into those of a 
bear, so that they would go on all fours for the rest of 



138 THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 

their lives. And, stooping over a spring of water, he 
dipped a handful of moss in it and rubbed it over the 
arms and legs of the boys. In an instant the trans- 
formation took place, and two creatures, neither beast nor 
human, stood before the chief. 

Now the bear chief of course knew that the boys' 
father would seek for his sons when they did not return 




^QSE 



)\i<*> the V>oy,s u>v:tH? >)olf tttvnfca Tixfco BEARS ^ 



MS* 



home, so he sent another of his servants to the hiding- 
place at the fork of the trail to see what would happen. 
He had not waited long, when the father came in sight, 
stooping as he went to look for his sons' tracks in the 
snow. When he saw the marks of snow-shoes along 
the path on the right he was filled with joy, not knowing 



THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 139 

that the servant had made some fresh tracks on purpose 
to mislead him ; and he hastened forward so fast that he 
fell headlong into a pit, where the bear was sitting. 
Before he could pick himself up the bear had quietly 
broken his neck, and, hiding the body under the snow, sat 
down to see if anyone else would pass that way. 

Meanwhile the mother at home was wondering what 
had become of her two sons, and as the hours went on, 
and their father never returned, she made up her mind to 
go and look for him. The youngest boy begged her to let 
him undertake the search, but she would not hear of it, 
and told him* he must stay at home and take care of his 
sister. So, slipping on her snow-shoes, she started on her 
way. 

As no fresh snow had fallen, the trail was quite easy 
to find, and she walked straight on, till it led her up to 
the pit where the bear was waiting for her. He grasped 
her as she fell and broke her neck, after which he laid 
her in the snow beside her husband, and went back to tell 
the bear chief. 

Hour after hour dragged heavily by in the forest hut, 
and at last the brother and sister felt quite sure that in 
some way or other all the rest of the family had perished. 
Day after day the boy climbed to the top of a tall tree 
near the house, and sat there till he was almost frozen, 
looking on all- sides through the forest openings, hoping 
that he might see someone coming along. Very soon all 
the food in the house was eaten, and he knew he would 
have to go out and hunt for more. Besides, he wished to 
seek for his parents. 

The little girl did not like being left alone in the hut, 
and cried bitterly ; but her brother told her that there was 
no use sitting down quietly to starve, and that whether he 
found any game or not he would certainly be back before the 
following night. Then he cut himself some arrows, each 
from a different tree, and winged with the feathers of four 
different birds. He then made himself a bow, very light 



140 THE LITTLE AND BIO BROTHEBS 

and strong, and got down his snow-shoes. All this took 
some time, and he could not start that day, but early next 
morning he called his little dog Redmouth, whom he kept 
in a box, and set out. 

After he had followed the trail for a great distance he 
grew very tired, and sat upon the branch of a tree to rest. 
But Redmouth barked so furiously that the boy thought 
that perhaps his parents might have been killed under its 
branches, and, stepping back, shot one of his arrows at the 
root of the tree. Whereupon a noise like thunder shook 
it from top to bottom, fire broke out, and in a few minutes 
a little heap of ashes lay in the place where it had stood. 

Not knowing quite what to make of it all, the boy con- 
tinued on the trail, and went down the right-hand fork till 
he came to the clump of bushes where the bears used to 
hide. 

Now, as was plain by his being able to change the 
shape of the two brothers, the bear chief knew a good 
deal of magic, and he was quite aware that the little boy 
was following the trail, and he sent a very small but 
clever bear servant to wait for him in the bushes and to 
try to tempt him into the mountain. But somehow his 
spells could not have worked properly that day, as the 
bear chief did not know that Redmouth had gone with his 
master, or he would have been more careful. For the 
moment the dog ran round the bushes barking loudly, the 
little bear servant rushed out in a fright, and set out for 
the mountains as fast as he could. 

The dog followed the bear, and the boy followed the 
dog, until the mountain, the house of the great bear chief, 
came in sight. But along the road the snow was so 
wet and heavy that the boy could hardly get along, and 
then the thong of his snow-shoes broke, and he had to 
stop and mend it, so that the bear and the dog got so far 
ahead that he could scarcely hear the barking. When 
the strap was firm again the boy spoke to his snow-shoes 
and said : 



THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 141 

'Now you must go as fast as you can, or, if not, I shall 
lose the dog as well as the bear.' And the snow-shoes 
sang in answer that they would run like the wind. 

As he came along, the bear chief's sister was looking 
out of the window, and took pity on this little brother, as 
she had on the two elder ones, and waited to see what 
the boy would do, when he found that the bear servant 
and the dog had already entered the mountain. 

The little brother was certainly very much puzzled 
at not seeing anything of either of the animals, which had 
vanished suddenly out of his sight. He paused for an 
instant to think what he should do next, and while he did so 
he fancied he heard Redmouth's voice on the opposite side 
of the mountain. With great difficulty he scrambled over 
steep rocks, and forced a path through tangled thickets ; 
but when he reached the other side the sound appeared to 
start from the place from which he had come. Then he 
had to go all the way back again, and at the very top, 
where he stopped to rest, the barking was directly beneath 
him, and he knew in an instant where he was and what 
had happened. 

' Let my dog out at once, bear chief ! ' cried he. ' If 
you do not, I shall destroy your palace.' But the bear 
chief only laughed, and said nothing. The boy was very 
angry at his silence, and aiming one of his arrows at the 
bottom of the mountain, shot straight through it. 

As the arrow touched the ground a rumbling was 
heard, and with a roar a fire broke out which seemed to 
split the whole mountain into pieces. The bear chief and 
all his servants were burnt up in the flames, but his sister 
and all that belonged to her were spared because she had 
tried to save the two elder boys from punishment. 

As soon as the fire had burnt itself out the little 
hunter entered what was left of the mountain, and the 
first thing he saw was his two brothers — half bear, half 
boy. 

*Oh, help us! help us!' cried they, standing on their 



142 THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS 

hind legs as they spoke, and stretching out their fore-paws 
to him. 

1 But how am I to help you ? ' asked the little brother, 
almost weeping. 'I can kill people, and destroy trees 
and mountains, but I have no power over men.' And the 
two elder brothers came up and put their paws on his 
shoulders, and they all three wept together. 

The heart of the bear chief's sister was moved when 
she saw their misery, and she came gently up behind, 
and whispered : 

1 Little boy, gather some moss from the spring over 
there, and let your brothers smell it.' 

With a bound all three were at the spring, and as the 
youngest plucked a handful of wet moss, the two others 
sniffed at it with all their might. Then the bearskin fell 
away from them, and they stood upright once more. 

' How can we thank you ? how can we thank you ? ' 
they stammered, hardly able to speak; and fell at her 
feet in gratitude. But the bear chief's sister only smiled, 
and bade them go home and look after the little girl, who 
had no one else to protect her. 

And this the boys did, and took such good care of their 
sister that, as she was very small, she soon forgot that she 
had ever had a father and mother. 

[From the Bureau of Ethnology, U.S.] 



THE SAQRED MILK OF KOUMONaOE 

Par away, in a very hot country, there once lived a man 
and woman who had two children, a son named Koane 
and a daughter called Thakane. 

Early in the morning and late in the evenings the 
parents worked hard in the fields, resting, when the sun 
was high, under the shade of some tree. While they were 
absent the little girl kept house alone, for her brother 
always got up before the dawn, when the air was fresh 
and cool, and drove out the cattle to the sweetest patches 
of grass he could find. 

One day, when Koane had slept later than usual, his 
father and mother went to their work before him, and 
there was only Thakane to be seen busy making the bread 
for supper. 

' Thakane/ he said, ' I am thirsty. Give me a drink 
from the tree Kournongoe, which has the best milk in the 
world/ 

<Oh, Koane/ cried his sister, 'you know that we are 
forbidden to touch that tree. What would father say 
when he came home ? For he would be sure to know.' 

' Nonsense/ replied Koane, ' there is so much milk in 
Kournongoe that he will never miss a little. If you won't 
give it to me, I sha'n't take the cattle out. They will just 
have to stay all day in the hut, and you know that they 
will starve.' And he turned from her in a rage, and sat 
down in the corner. 

After a while Thakane said to him : ' It is getting hot, 
had you not better drive out the cattle now ? ' 

143 



144 THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 

But Koane only answered sulkily : ' I told you I am 
not going to drive them out at all. If I have to do with- 
out milk, they shall do without grass.' 

Thakane did not know what to do. She was afraid 
to disobey her parents, who would most likely beat her, 
yet the beasts would be sure to suffer if they were kept 
in, and she would perhaps be beaten for that too. So at 
last she took an axe and a tiny earthen bowl, she cut 
a very small hole in the side of Koumongoe, and out 
gushed enough milk to fill the bowl. 

' Here is the milk you wanted/ said she, going up to 
Koane, who was still sulking in his corner. 

1 What is the use of that ? ' grumbled Koane ; ' why, 
there is not enough to drown a fly. Go and get me three 
times as much ! ' 

Trembling with fright, Thankne returned to the tree, 
and struck it a sharp blow with the axe. In an instant 
there poured forth such a stream of milk that it ran like 
a river into the hut. 

' Koane ! Koane ! ' cried she, ( come and help me to plug 
up the hole. There will be no milk left for our father 
and mother/ But Koane could not stop it any more than 
Thakane, and soon the milk was flowing through the hut 
downhill towards their parents in the fields below. 

The man saw the white stream a long way off, and 
guessed what had happened. 

' Wife, wife/ he called loudly to the woman, who was 
working at a little distance: 'Do you see Koumongoe 
running fast down the hill? That is some mischief of 
the children's, I am sure. I must go home and find out 
what is the matter.' And they both threw down their 
hoes and hurried to the side of Koumongoe. 

Kneeling on the grass, the man and his wife made a 
cup of their hands and drank the milk from it. And no 
sooner had they done this, than Koumongoe flowed back 
again up the hill, and entered the hut. 

'Thakane/ said the parents, severely, when they reached 



THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONOOE 145 

home panting from the heat of the sun, ' what have you 
been doing? Why did Koumongoe come to us in the 
fields instead of staying in the garden?' 

'It was Koane's fault/ answered Thakane. 'He 
would not take the cattle to feed until he drank some of 
the milk from Koumongoe. So, as I did not know what 
else to do, I gave it to him.' 

The father listened to Thakane's words, but made 
no answer. Instead, he went outside and brought in two 
sheepskins, which he stained red, and sent for a black- 
smith to forge some iron rings. The rings were then 
passed over Thakane's arms and legs and neck, and the 
skins fastened on her before and behind. When all was 
ready, the man sent for his servants and said : 

' I am going to get rid of Thakane.' 

'Get rid of your only daughter?' they answered, in 
surprise. ' But why ? ' 

'Because she has eaten what she ought not to have 
eaten. She has touched the sacred tree which belongs 
to her mother and me alone.' And, turning his back, he 
called to Thakane to follow him, and they went down the 
road which led to the dwelling of an ogre. 

They were passing along some fields where the corn 
was ripening, when a rabbit suddenly sprang out at their 
feet, and standing on its hind legs, it sang : 

Why do you give to the ogre 
Your child, so fair, so fair ? 

' You had better ask her,' replied the man, ' she is old 
enough to give you an answer.' 
Then, in her turn, Thakane sang : 

I gave Kouinongoe" to Koan6, 

Koumongoe" to the keeper of beasts ; 

For without Koumongoe" they could not go to the meadows : 

Without Koumongoe" they would starve in the hut ; 

That was why I gave him the Koumongoe" of my father. 

And when the rabbit heard that, he cried : ' Wretched 

BR. L 



146 THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 

man ! it is you whom the ogre should eat, and not your 
beautiful daughter.' 




"~~l:' 



But the father paid no heed to what the rabbit said, 
and only walked on the faster, bidding Thakane to keep 
close behind him. By-and-by they met with a troop of 



THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 147 

great deer, called elands, and they stopped when they saw 
Thakane and sang : 

Why do you give to the ogre 
Your child, so fair, so fair ? 

1 You had better ask her/ replied the man, l she is old 
enough to give you an answer.' 
Then, in her turn, Thakane sang : 

I gave Koumongoe' to Koand, 

Koumongoe' to the keeper of beasts ; 

For without Koumongoe' they could not go to the meadows : 

Without Koumongoe' they would starve in the hut ; 

That was why I gave him the Koumongod of my father. 

And the elands all cried : ' Wretched man ! it is 
you whom the ogre should eat, and not your beautiful 
daughter.' 

By this time it was nearly dark, and the father said 
they could travel no further that night, and must go to 
sleep where they were. Thakane was thankful indeed 
when she heard this, for she was very tired, and found 
the two skins fastened round her almost too heavy to 
carry. So, in spite of her dread of the ogre, she slept till 
dawn, when her father woke her, and told her roughly 
that he was ready to continue their journey. 

Crossing the plain, the girl and her father passed a 
herd of gazelles feeding. They lifted their heads, wonder- 
ing who was out so early, and when they caught sight of 
Thakane, they sang : 

Why do you give to the ogre 
Your child, so fair, so fair ? 

' You had better ask her/ replied the man, ' she is old 
enough to answer for herself.' 
Then, in her turn, Thakane sang: 

I gave_Koumongo6 to KoanS, 
Koumongod to the keeper of beasts ; 

For without Koumongod they could not go to the meadows : 
Without Koumongoe they would starve in the hut ; 
That was why I gave him the Koumongod of my father. 

l2 



148 THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 

And the gazelles all cried : ' Wretched man ! it is 
you whom the ogre should eat, and not your beautiful 
daughter/ 

At last they arrived at the village where the ogre 
lived, and they went straight to his hut. He was no- 
where to be seen, but in his place was his son Masilo, 
who was not an ogre at all, but a very polite young man. 
He ordered his servants to bring a pile of skins for 
Thakane to sit on, but told her father he must sit on the 
ground. Then, catching sight of the girl's face, which 
she had kept bent down, he was struck by its beauty, and 
put the same question that the rabbit, and the elands, and 
the gazelles had done. 

Thakane answered him as before, and he instantly 
commanded that she should be taken to the hut of his 
mother, and placed under her care, while the man should 
be led to his father. Directly the ogre saw him he bade 
the servant throw him into the great pot which always 
stood ready on the fire, and in five minutes he was done 
to a turn. After that the servant returned to Masilo and 
related all that had happened. 

Now Masilo had fallen in love with Thakane the 
moment he saw her. At first he did not know what to 
make of this strange feeling, for all his life he had hated 
women, and had refused several brides whom his parents 
had chosen for him. However, they were so anxious 
that he should marry, that they willingly accepted 
Thakane as their daughter-in-law, though she did not 
bring any marriage portion with her. 

After some time a baby was born to her, and Thakane 
thought it was the most beautiful baby that ever was seen. 
But when her mother-in-law saw it was a girl, she wrung 
her hands and wept, saying : 

' miserable mother ! Miserable child ! Alas for 
you ! why were you not a boy ! ' 

Thakane, in great surprise, asked the meaning of her 
distress; and the old woman told her that it was the 



THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 149 

custom in that country that all the girls who were born 
should be given to the ogre to eat. 

Then Thakane clasped the baby tightly in her arms, 
and cried : 

' But it is not the custom in my country ! There, 
when children die, they are buried in the earth. No one 
shall take my baby from me.' 

That night, when everyone in the hut was asleep, 
Thakane rose, and carrying her baby on her back, went 
down to a place where the river spread itself out into a 
large lake, with tall willows all round the bank. Here, 
hidden from everyone, she sat down on a stone and began 
to think what she should do to save her child. 

Suddenly she heard a rustling among the willows, and 
an old woman appeared before her. 

( What are you crying for, my dear ? ' said she. 

And Thakane answered : ' I was crying for my baby — 
I cannot hide her for ever, and if the ogre sees her, he 
will eat her ; and I would rather she was drowned than 
that.' 

' What you say is true/ replied the old woman. 'Give 
me your child, and let me take care of it. And if you 
will fix a day to meet me here I will bring the baby.' 

Then Thakane dried her eyes, and gladly accepted 
the old woman's offer. When she got home she told 
her husband she had thrown it in the river, and as he had 
watched her go in that direction he never thought of 
doubting what she said. 

On the appointed day, Thakane slipped out when 
everybody was busy, and ran down the path that led to 
the lake. As soon as she got there, she crouched down 
among the willows, and sang softly : 

Bring to me Dilah, Dilah the rejected one, 
Dilah, whom her father Masilo cast out ! 

And in a moment the old woman appeared holding the 
baby in her arms. Dilah had become so big and strong, 



150 THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 

that Thakane' s heart was filled with joy and gratitude, 
and she stayed as long as she dared, playing with her 
baby. At last she felt she must return to the village, 
lest she should be missed, and the child was handed 
back to the old woman, who vanished with her into the 
lake. 

Children grow up very quickly when they live under 
water, and in less time than anyone could suppose, Dilah 
had changed from a baby to a woman. Her mother came 
to visit her whenever she was able, and one day, when they 
were sitting talking together, they were spied out by a 
man who had come to cut willows to weave into baskets. 
He was so surprised to see how like the face of the girl 
was to Masilo, that he left his work and returned to the 
village. 

' Masilo/ he said, as he entered the hut, ' I have just 
beheld your wife near the river with a girl who must be 
your daughter, she is so like you. We have been deceived, 
for we all thought she was dead.' 

When he heard this, Masilo tried to look shocked 
because his wife had broken the law ; but in his heart he 
was very glad. 

' But what shall we do now ? ' asked he. 

' Make sure for yourself that I am speaking the truth 
by hiding among the bushes the first time Thakane says 
she is going to bathe in the river, and waiting till the girl 
appears/ 

For some days Thakane stayed quietly at home, and 
her husband began to think that the man had been mis- 
taken ; but at last she said to her husband : ' I am going 
to bathe in the river/ 

'Well, you can go/ answered he. But he ran down 
quickly by another path, and got there first, and hid 
himself in the bushes. An instant later, Thakane arrived, 
and standing on the bank, she sang : 

Bring to me Dilah, Dilah the rejected one, 
Dilah, whom her father Masilo cast out I 



THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 151 

Then the old woman came out of the water, holding 
the girl, now tall and slender, by the hand. And as 
Masilo looked, he saw that she was indeed his daughter, 
and he wept for joy that she was not lying dead in the 




bottom of the lake. The old woman, however, seemed 
uneasy, and said to Thakane: 'I feel as if someone was 
watching us. I will not leave the girl to-day, but will 
take her back with me ' ; and sinking beneath the surface, 
she drew the girl after her. After they had gone, Thakane 



152 THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 

returned to the village, which Masilo had managed to 
reach before her. 

All the rest of the day he sat in a corner weeping, and 
his mother who came in asked : l Why are you weeping 
so bitterly, my son ? ' 

'My head aches/ he answered; 'it aches very badly.' 
And his mother passed on, and left him alone. 

In the evening he said to his wife : ( I have seen my 
daughter, in the place where you told me you had drowned 
her. Instead, she lives at the bottom of the lake, and has 
now grown into a young woman.' 

'I don't know what you are talking about/ replied 
Thakane. 'I buried my child under the sand on the 
beach.' 

Then Masilo implored her to give the child back to 
him ; but she would not listen, and only answered : ' If I 
were to give her back you would only obey the laws of 
your country and take her to your father, the ogre, and 
she would be eaten.' 

But Masilo promised that he would never let his father 
see her, and that now she was a woman no one would try 
to hurt her; so Thakane's heart melted, and she went 
down to the lake to consult the old woman. 

1 What am I to do ? ' she asked, when, after clapping 
her hands, the old woman appeared before her. l Yesterday 
Masilo beheld Dilah, and ever since he has entreated me 
to give him back his daughter.' 

' If I let her go he must pay me a thousand head of 
cattle in exchange,' replied the old woman. And Thakane 
carried her answer back to Masilo. 

' Why, I would gladly give her two thousand ! ' cried he, 
' for she has saved my daughter.' And he bade messengers 
hasten to all the neighbouring villages, and tell his 
people to send him at once all the cattle he possessed. 
When they were all assembled he chose a thousand of the 
finest bulls and cows, and drove them down to the river, 
followed by a great crowd wondering what would happen. 



THE SACRED MILK OF KOUMONGOE 153 

Then Thakane stepped forward in front of the cattle 
and sang : 

Bring to me Dilah, Dilah the rejected one, 
Dilah, whom her father Masilo cast out ! 

And Dilah came from the waters holding out her hands 
to Masilo and Thakane', and in her place the cattle sank 
into the lake, and were driven by the old woman to the 
great city filled with people, which lies at the bottom. 

[Conte8 Populaires des £assoutos.] 



THE WICKED WOLVEBJNE 

One day a wolverine was out walking on the hillside, 
when, on turning a corner, he suddenly saw a large rock. 

' Was that you I heard walking about just now ? ' he 
asked, for wolverines are cautious animals, and always 
like to know the reasons of things. 

' No, certainly not/ answered the rock ; i I don't know 
how to walk/ 

( But I saiv you walking/ continued the wolverine. 

'I am afraid that you were not taught to speak the 
truth/ retorted the rock. 

'You need not speak like that, for I have seen you 
walking/ replied the wolverine, ' though I am quite sure 
that you could never catch me ! ' and he ran a little dis- 
tance and then stopped to see if the rock was pursuing 
him ; but, to his vexation, the rock was still in the same 
place. Then the wolverine went up close, and struck the 
rock a blow with his paw, saying : ' Well, will you catch 
me now ? ' 

( I can't walk, but I can roll? answered the rock. 

And the wolverine laughed and said : ' Oh, that will 
do just as well ' ; and began to run down the side of the 
mountain. 

At first he went quite slowly, ' just to give the rock a 
chance/ he thought to himself ; but soon he quickened his 
pace, for he found that the rock was almost at his heels. 
But the faster the wolverine ran, the faster the rock rolled, 
and by-and-by the little creature began to get very tired, 
and was sorry he had not left the rock to itself. Think- 

154 



THE WICKED WOLVERINE 



155 



ing that if he could manage to put on a spurt he would 
reach the forest of great trees at the bottom of the 
mountain, where the rock could not come, he gathered up 
all his strength, and instead of running he leaped over 
sticks and stones, but, whatever he did, the rock was 
always close behind him. At length he grew so weary 
that he could not even see where he was going, and 




AVL THE. ANIMAIS TRJT TO C.ET THE ROCK. OFF WOLVERINE'S l£Q5 



catching his foot in a branch he tripped and fell. The 
rock stopped at once, but there came a shriek from the 
wolverine : 

' Get off, get off ! can't you see that you are on my 
legs ? ' 

1 Why did you not leave me alone ? ' asked the rock. 
' I did not want to move — I hate moving. But you 



156 THE WICKED WOLVERINE 

would have it, and I certainly shaVt move now till I am 
forced to.' 

1 1 will call my brothers/ answered the wolverine. 
' There are many of them in the forest, and you will soon 
see that they are stronger than you/ And he called, and 
called, and called, till wolves and foxes and all sorts of other 
creatures all came running to see what was the matter. 

( How did you get under that rock ? ' asked they, 
making a ring round him ; but they had to repeat their 
question several times before the wolverine would answer, 
for he, like many other persons, found it hard to confess 
that he had brought his troubles on himself. 

' Well, I was dull, and wanted someone to play with 
me/ he said at last, in a sulky voice, ' and I challenged 
the rock to catch me. Of course I thought I could run the 
fastest ; but I tripped, and it rolled on me. It was just an 
accident.' 

' It serves you right for being so silly/ said they ; but 
they pushed and hauled at the rock for a long time with- 
out making it move an inch. 

1 You are no good at all/ cried the wolverine crossly, 
for it was suffering great pain, ' and if you cannot get 
me free, I shall see what my friends the lightning and the 
thunder can do/ And he called loudly to the lightning to 
come and help him as quickly as possible. 

In a few minutes a dark cloud came rolling up the 
sky, giving out such terrific claps of thunder that the 
wolves and the foxes and all the other creatures ran helter- 
skelter in all directions. But, frightened though they 
were, they did not forget to beg the lightning to take off 
the wolverine's coat and to free his legs, but to be careful 
not to hurt him. So the lightning disappeared into the 
cloud for a moment to gather up fresh strength, and then 
came rushing down, right upon the rock, which it sent 
flying in all directions, and took off the wolverine's coat 
so neatly that, though it was torn into tiny shreds, the 
wolverine himself was quite unharmed. 



THE WICKED WOLVERINE 157 

1 That was rather clumsy of you/ said he, standing up 
naked in his flesh. ' Surely you could have split the rock 
without tearing my coat to bits ! ' And he stooped down to 
pick up the pieces. It took him a long time, for there 
were a great many of them, but at last he had them all 
in his hand. 

1 I'll go to my sister the frog,' he thought to himself, 
1 and she will sew them together for me ' ; and he set off 
at once for the swamp in which his sister lived. 

( Will you sew my coat together ? I had an unlucky 
accident, and it is quite impossible to wear/ he said, when 
he found her. 

'With pleasure/ she answered, for she had always 
been taught to be polite ; and getting her needle and thread 
she began to fit the pieces. But though she was very 
good-natured, she was not very clever, and she got some 
of the bits wrong. When the wolverine, who was very 
particular about his clothes, came to put it on, he grew 
very angry. 

I What a useless creature you are ! ' cried he. l Do you 
expect me to go about in such a coat as that ? Why it 
bulges all down the back, as if I had a hump, and it is so 
tight across the chest that I expect it to burst every time 
I breathe. I knew you were stupid, but I did not think 
you were as stupid as that/ And giving the poor frog 
a blow on her head, which knocked her straight into the 
water, he walked off in a rage to his younger sister the 
mouse. 

I I tore my coat this morning/ he began, when he had 
found her sitting at the door of her house eating an apple. 
1 It was all in little bits, and I took it to our sister the 
frog to ask her to sew it for me. But just look at the 
way she has done it ! You will have to take it to pieces 
and fit them together properly, and I hope I shall not 
have to complain again.' For as the wolverine was older 
than the mouse, he was accustomed to speak to her in 
this manner. However, the mouse was used to it and 



158 THE WICKED WOLVERINE 

only answered : ' I think you had better stay here till it is 
done, and if there is any alteration needed I can make it.' 
So the wolverine sat down on a heap of dry ferns, and, 
picking up the apple, he finished it without even asking 
the mouse's leave. 

At last the coat was ready, and the wolverine put 
it on. 

1 Yes, it fits very well/ said he, c and you have sewn it 
very neatly. When I pass this way again I will bring 
you a handful of corn, as a reward ' ; and he ran off as 
smart as ever, leaving the mouse quite grateful behind 
him. 

He wandered about for many days, till he reached a 
place where food was very scarce, and for a whole week 
he went without any. He was growing desperate, when 
he suddenly came upon a bear that was lying asleep. 
1 Ah ! here is food at last ! ' thought he ; but how was he 
to kill the bear, who was so much bigger than himself ? 
It was no use to try force, he must invent some cunning 
plan which would get her into his power. At last, after 
thinking hard, he decided upon something, and going up 
to the bear, he exclaimed : < Is that you, my sister ? ' 

The bear turned round and saw the wolverine, and 
murmuring to herself, so low that nobody could hear, ' I 
never heard before that I had a brother/ got up and ran 
quickly to a tree, up which she climbed. Now the 
wolverine was very angry when he saw his dinner vanish- 
ing in front of him, especially as he could not climb trees 
like the bear, so he followed, and stood at the foot of the 
tree, shrieking as loud as he could, ' Come down, sister ; 
our father has sent me to look for you ! You were lost 
when you were a little girl and went out picking berries, 
and it was only the other day that we heard from a beaver 
where you were. ' At these words, the bear came a little 
way down the tree, and the wolverine, seeing this, 
went on : 

' Are you not fond of berries ? i" am ! And I know a 



THE WICKED WOLVERINE 159 

place where they grow so thick the ground is quite 
hidden. Why, look for yourself ! That hillside is quite 
red with them ! ' 

i I can't see so far/ answered the bear, now climbing 
down altogether. ( You must have wonderfully good 
eyes ! I wish / had ; but my sight is very short.' 

' So was mine till my father smashed a pailful of 
cranberries, and rubbed my eyes with them/ replied the 
wolverine. 'But if you like to go and gather some of the 
berries I will do just as he did, and you will soon be able 
to see as far as me.' 

It took the bear a long while to gather the berries, for 
she was slow about everything, and, besides, it made her 
back ache to stoop. But at last she returned with a 
sackful, and put them down beside the wolverine. ' That 
is splendid, sister!' cried the wolverine. 'Now lie flat 
on the ground with your head on this stone, while I 
smash them.' 

The bear, who was very tired, was only too glad to do 
as she was bid, and stretched herself comfortably on the 
grass. 

' I am ready now,' said the wolverine after a bit ; 'just 
at first you will find that the berries make your eyes 
smart, but you must be careful not to move, or the juice 
will run out, and then it will have to be done all over 
again.' 

So the bear promised to lie very still ; but the moment 
the cranberries touched her eyes she sprang up with a 
roar. 

' Oh, you mustn't mind a little pain,' said the wolverine, 
' it will soon be over, and then you will see all sorts of 
things you have never dreamt of.' The bear sank down 
with a groan, and as her eyes were full of cranberry juice, 
which completely blinded her, the wolverine took up a 
sharp knife and stabbed her to the heart. 

Then he took off the skin, and, stealing some fire from 
a tent, which his sharp eyes had perceived hidden behind 



160 THE WICKED WOLVERINE 

a rock, he set about roasting the bear bit by bit. He 
thought the meat was the best he ever had tasted, and 
when dinner was done he made up his mind to try that 
same trick again, if ever he was hungry. 
And very likely he did ! 

[Adapted from Bureau of Ethnology. ,] 



THE HUSBAND OF THE RAT'S 
DAUGHTER 

•nce upon a time there lived in Japan a rat and his wife 
'ho came of an old and noble race, and had one daughter, 
le loveliest girl in all the rat world. Her parents were 
ery proud of her, and spared no pains to teach her all 
tie ought to know. There was not another young lady 
1 the whole town who was as clever as she was in gnaw- 
lg through the hardest wood, or who could drop from 
jch a height on to a bed, or run away so fast if anyone 
-as heard coming. Great attention, too, was paid to her 
ersonal appearance, and her skin shone like satin, while 
er teeth were as white as pearls, and beautifully pointed. 

Of course, with all these advantages, her parents 
xpected her to make a brilliant marriage, and, as she 
rew up, they began to look round for a suitable husband. 

But here a difficulty arose. The father was a rat from 
le tip of his nose to the end of his tail, outside as well as 
1, and desired that his daughter should wed among her 
svn people. She had no lack of lovers, but her father's 
?cret hopes rested on a fine young rat, with moustaches 
hich almost swept the ground, whose family was still 
abler and more ancient than his own. Unluckily, the 
.other had other views for her precious child. She was 
ie of those people who always despise their own family 
id surroundings, and take pleasure in thinking that they 
lemselves are made of finer material than the rest of the 
orld. l Her daughter should never marry a mere rat/ 
ie declared, holding her head high. ' With her beauty 

BR. 161 M 



162 THE HUSBAND OF THE RAT'S DAUGHTER 

and talents she had a right to look for someone a little 
better than that.' 

So she talked, as mothers will, to anyone that would 
listen to her. What the girl thought about the matter 
nobody knew or cared — it was not the fashion in the rat 
world. 

Many were the quarrels which the old rat and his 
wife had upon the subject, and sometimes they bore on 
their faces certain marks which looked as if they had not 
kept to words only. 

1 Keach up to the stars is my motto/ cried the lady one 
day, when she was in a greater passion than usual. ' My 
daughter's beauty places her higher than anything upon 
earth/ she cried ; ' and I am certainly not going to accept a 
son-in-law who is beneath her. 5 

( Better offer her in marriage to the sun/ answered 
her husband impatiently. 'As far as I know there is 
nothing greater than he.' 

I Well, I was thinking of it/ replied the wife, ' and 
as you are of the same mind, we will pay him a visit 
to-morrow.' 

So the next morning, the two rats, having spent hours 
in making themselves smart, set out to see the sun, 
leading their daughter between them. 

The journey took some time, but at length they came 
to the golden palace where the sun lived. 

' Noble king/ began the mother, ' behold our daughter ! 
She is so beautiful that she is above everything in the 
whole world. Naturally, we wish for a sou-in-law who, 
on his side, is greater than all. Therefore we have come 
to you.' 

I I feel very much flattered/ replied the sun, who was 
so busy that he had not the least wish to marry anybody. 
1 You do me great honour by your proposal. Only, in one 
point you are mistaken, and it would be wrong of me to 
take advantage of your ignorance. There is something 
greater than I am, and that is the cloud. Look!' And as 



THE HUSBAND OF THE RATS DAUGHTER 163 

he spoke a cloud spread itself over the sun's face, blotting 
out his rays. 

1 Oh, well, we will speak to the cloud/ said the mother. 
And turning to the cloud she repeated her proposal. 

1 Indeed I am unworthy of anything so charming/ 
answered the cloud ; ' but you make a mistake again in 
what you say. There is one thing that is even more 
powerful than I, and that is the wind. Ah, here he 
comes, you can see for yourself/ 

And she did see, for catching up the cloud as he 
passed, he threw it on the other side of the sky. Then, 
tumbling father, mother and daughter down to the earth 
again, he paused for a moment beside them, his foot on 
an old wall. 

When she had recovered her breath, the mother began 
her little speech once more. 

' The wall is the proper husband for your daughter/ 
answered the wind, whose home consisted of a cave, 
which he only visited when he was not rushing about 
elsewhere ; ' you can see for yourself that he is greater 
than I, for he has power to stop me in my flight.' And 
the mother, who did not trouble to conceal her wishes, 
turned at once to the wall. 

Then something happened which was quite unexpected 
by everyone. 

[ I won't marry that ugly old wall, which is as old as 
my grandfather/ sobbed the girl, who had not uttered 
one word all this time. ' I would have married the sun, 
or the cloud, or the wind, because it was my duty, 
although I love the handsome young rat, and him only. 
But that horrid old wall — I would sooner die ! ' 

And the wall, rather hurt in his feelings, declared 
that he had no claim to be the husband of so beautiful 
a girl. 

1 It is quite true/ he said, l that I can stop the wind 
who can part the clouds who can cover the sun ; but there 
is someone who can do more than all these, and that is 

m2 



164 THE HUSBAND OF THE RAT'S DAUGHTER 

the rat. It is the rat who passes through me, and can 
reduce me to powder, simply with his teeth. If, therefore, 
you want a son-in-law who is greater than the whole 
world, seek him among the rats.' 

' Ah, what did I tell you ? ' cried the father. And his 
wife, though for the moment angry at being beaten, soon 
thought that a rat son-in-law was what she had always 
desired. 

So all three returned happily home, and the wedding 
was celebrated three days after. 

[' Conies Populaires." ] 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

Long, long ago, there lived a king who ruled over a 
country by the sea. When he had been married about a 
year, some of his subjects, inhabiting a distant group of 
islands, revolted against his laws, and it became needful 
for him to leave his wife and go in person to settle their 
disputes. The queen feared that some ill would come of 
it, and implored him to stay at home, but he told her that 
nobody could do his work for him, and the next morning 
the sails were spread, and the king started on his voyage. 

The vessel had not gone very far when she ran upon 
a rock, and stuck so fast in a cleft that the strength of 
the whole crew could not get her off again. To make 
matters worse, the wind was rising too, and it was quite 
plain that in a few hours the ship would be dashed to 
pieces and everybody would be drowned, when suddenly 
the form of a mermaid was seen dancing on the waves 
which threatened every moment to overwhelm them. 

' There is only one way to free yourselves/ she said to 
the king, bobbing up and down in the water as she spoke, 
' and that is to give me your solemn word that you will 
deliver to me the first child that is born to you/ 

The king hesitated at this proposal. He hoped that 
some day he might have children in his home, and the 
thought that he must yield up the heir to his crown was 
very bitter to him ; but just then a huge wave broke with 
great force on the ship's side, and his men fell on their 
knees and entreated him to save them. 

So he promised, and this time a wave lifted the vessel 

165 



166 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

clean off the rocks, and she was in the open sea once 
more. 

The affairs of the islands took longer to settle than the 
king had expected, and some months passed away before 
he returned to his palace. In his absence a son had been 
born to him, and so great was his joy that he quite forgot 
the mermaid and the price he had paid for the safety of 
his ship. But as the years went on, and the baby grew 
into a fine big boy, the remembrance of it came back, and 
one day he told the queen the whole story. From that 
moment the happiness of both their lives was ruined. 
Every night they went to bed wondering if they should 
find his room empty in the morning, and every day they 
kept him by their sides, expecting him to be snatched 
away before their very eyes. 

At last the king felt that this state of things could not 
continue, and he said to his wife : 

1 After all, the most foolish thing in the world one can 
do is to keep the boy here in exactly the place in which 
the mermaid will seek him. Let us give him food and 
send him on his travels, and perhaps, if the mermaid ever 
does come to seek him, she may be content with some 
other child.' And the queen agreed that his plan seemed 
the wisest. 

So the boy was called, and his father told him the 
story of the voyage, as he had told his mother before him. 
The prince listened eagerly, and was delighted to think 
that he was to go away all by himself to see the world, 
and was not in the least frightened ; for though he was 
now sixteen, he had scarcely been allowed to walk alone 
beyond the palace gardens. He began busily to make 
his preparations, and took off his smart velvet coat, 
putting on instead one of green cloth, while he refused a 
beautiful bag which the queen offered him to hold his 
food, and slung a leather knapsack over his shoulders 
instead, just as he had seen other travellers do. Then he 
bade farewell to his parents and went his way. 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 169 

All through the day he walked, watching with interest 
the strange birds and animals that darted across his path 
in the forest or peeped at him from behind a bush. But 
as evening drew on he became tired, and looked about 
as he walked for some place where he could sleep. At 
length he reached a soft mossy bank under a tree, and 
was just about to stretch himself out on it, when a fearful 
roar made him start and tremble all over. In another 
moment something passed swiftly through the air and a 
lion stood before him. 

1 What are you doing here ? ' asked the lion, his eyes 
glaring fiercely at the boy. 

* I am flying from the mermaid/ the prince answered, 
in a quaking voice. 

' Give me some food then,' said the lion, ' it is past 
my supper time, and I am very hungry.' 

The boy was so thankful that the lion did not want to 
eat him, that he gladly picked up his knapsack which lay 
on the ground, and held out some bread and a flask of 
wine. 

<I feel better now,' said the lion when he had done, 
1 so I shall go to sleep on this nice soft moss, and if you 
like you can lie down beside me.' So the boy and the 
lion slept soundly side by side, till the sun rose. 

'I must be off now/ remarked the lion, shaking the 
boy as he spoke ; i but cut off the tip of my ear, and keep 
it carefully, and if you are in any danger just wish your- 
self a lion and you will become one on the spot. One 
good turn deserves another, you know/ 

The prince thanked him for his kindness, and did as 
he was bid, and the two then bade each other farewell. 

' I wonder how it feels to be a lion/ thought the boy, 
after he had gone a little way ; and he took out the tip of 
the ear from the breast of his jacket and wished with all 
his might. In an instant his head had swollen to several 
times its usual size, and his neck seemed very hot and 
heavy ; and, somehow, his hands became paws, and his 



170 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

skin grew hairy and yellow. But what pleased him 
most was his long tail with a tuft at the end, which he 
lashed and switched proudly. ' I like being a lion very 
much/ he said to himself, and trotted gaily along the 
road. 

After a while, however, he got tired of walking in this 
unaccustomed way — it made his back ache and his front 
paws felt sore. So he wished himself a boy again, and 
in the twinkling of an eye his tail disappeared and his 
head shrank, and the long thick mane became short and 
curly. Then he looked out for a sleeping place, and 
found some dry ferns, which he gathered and heaped up. 

But before he had time to close his eyes there was a 
great noise in the trees near by, as if a big heavy body 
was crashing through them. The boy rose and turned 
his head, and saw a huge black bear coming towards 
him. 

' What are you doing here ? ' cried the bear. 

'I am running away from the mermaid/ answered 
the boy ; but the bear took no interest in the mermaid, 
and only said: 'I am hungry; give me something to 
eat.' 

The knapsack was lying on the ground among the fern, 
but the prince picked it up, and, unfastening the strap, 
took out his second flask of wine and another loaf of 
bread. ( We will have supper together/ he remarked 
politely ; but the bear, who had never been taught manners, 
made no reply, and ate as fast as he could. When he 
had quite finished, he got up and stretched himself. 

'You have got a comfortable-looking bed there/ he 
observed. 'I really think that, bad sleeper as I am, I 
might have a good night on it. I can manage to squeeze 
you in/ he added ; ' you don't take up a great deal of 
room.' The boy was rather indignant at the bear's cool 
way of talking; but as he was too tired to gather more 
fern, they lay down side by side, and never stirred till 
sunrise next morning. 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 111 

( 1 must go now,' said the bear, pulling the sleepy- 
prince on to his feet ; ' but first you shall cut off the tip 
of my ear, and when you are in any danger just wish 
yourself a bear and you will become one. One good turn 
deserves another, you know.' And the boy did as he was 
bid, and he and the bear bade each other farewell. 

( I wonder how it feels to be a bear/ thought he to 
himself when he had walked a little way ; and he took 
out the tip from the breast of his coat and wished hard 
that he might become a bear. The next moment his 
body stretched out and thick black fur covered him all 
over. As before, his hands were changed into paws, but 
when he tried to switch his tail he found to his disgust 
that it would not go any distance. ' Why it is hardly 
worth calling a tail ! ' said he. For the rest of the day he 
remained a bear and continued his journe} r , but as evening 
came on the bear-skin, which had been so useful when 
plunging through brambles in the forest, felt rather heavy, 
and he wished himself a boy again. He was too much 
exhausted to take the trouble of cutting any fern or 
seeking for moss, but just threw himself down under a 
tree, when exactly above his head he heard a great 
buzzing as a bumble-bee alighted on a honeysuckle 
branch. ' What are you doing here ? ' asked the bee in a 
cross voice ; ' at your age you ought to be safe at home. 5 

'I am running away from the mermaid/ replied the 
boy ; but the bee, like the lion and the bear, was one of 
those people who never listen to the answers to their 
questions, and only said: ( I am hungry. Give me 
something to eat.' 

The boy took his last loaf and flask out of his knap- 
sack and laid them on the ground, and they had supper 
together. l Well, now I am going to sleep/ observed the 
bee when the last crumb was gone, ' but as you are not 
very big I can make room for you beside me/ and he 
curled up his wings, and tucked in his legs, and he and 
the prince both slept soundly till morning. Then the bee 



172 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

got up and carefully brushed every scrap of dust off his 
velvet coat and buzzed loudly in the boy's ear to waken 
him. 

'Take a single hair from one of my wings/ said he, 
' and if you are in danger just wish yourself a bee and 
you will become one. One good turn deserves another, 
so farewell, and thank you for your supper.' And the bee 
departed after the boy had pulled out the hair and 
wrapped it carefully in a leaf. 

1 It must feel quite different to be a bee from what it 
does to be a lion or bear,' thought the boy to himself 
when he had walked for an hour or two. 1 1 dare say I 
should get on a great deal faster,' so he pulled out his 
hair and wished himself a bee. 

In a moment the strangest thing happened to him. 
All his limbs seemed to draw together, and his body to 
become very short and round ; his head grew quite tiny, 
and instead of his white skin he was covered with the 
richest, softest velvet. Better than all, he had two lovely 
gauze wings which carried him the whole day without 
getting tired. 

Late in the afternoon the boy fancied he saw a vast 
heap of stones a long way off, and he flew straight 
towards it. But when he reached the gates he saw that 
it was really a great town, so he wished himself back in 
his own shape and entered the city. 

He found the palace doors wide open and went boldly 
into a sort of hall which was full of people, and where 
men and maids were gossiping together. He joined their 
talk and soon learned from them that the king had only 
one daughter who had such a hatred to men that she 
would never suffer one to enter her presence. Her father 
was in despair, and had had pictures painted of the 
handsomest princes of all the courts in the world, in the 
hope that she might fall in love with one of them ; but 
it was no use; the princess would not even allow the 
pictures to be brought into her room. 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 175 

'It is late/ remarked one of the women at last; 'I 
must go to my mistress.' And, turning to one of the 
lackeys, she bade him find a bed for the youth. 

1 It is not necessary/ answered the prince, ' this bench 
is good enough for me. I am used to nothing better/ 
And when the hall was empty he lay down for a few 
minutes. But as soon as everything was quiet in the 
palace he took out the hair and wished himself a bee, 
and in this shape he flew upstairs, past the guards, and 
through the keyhole into the princess's chamber. Then 
he turned himself into a man again. 

At this dreadful sight the princess, who was broad 
awake, began to scream loudly. ' A man ! a man ! ' cried 
she; but when the guards rushed in there was only a 
bumble-bee buzzing about the room. They looked under 
the bed, and behind the curtains, and into the cupboards, 
then came to the conclusion that the princess had had 
a bad dream, and bowed themselves out. The door had 
scarcely closed on them than the bee disappeared, and a 
handsome youth stood in his place. 

<I knew a man was hidden somewhere/ cried the 
princess, and screamed more loudly than before. Her 
shrieks brought back the guards, but though they looked 
in all kinds of impossible places no man was to be seen, 
and so they told the princess. 

'He was here a moment ago — I saw him with my 
own eyes/ and the guards dared not contradict her, 
though they shook their heads and whispered to each 
other that the princess had gone mad on this subject, and 
saw a man in every table and chair. And they made up 
their minds that — let her scream as loudly as she might — 
they would take no notice. 

Now the princess saw clearly what they were thinking, 
and that in future her guards would give her no help, 
and would perhaps, besides, tell some stories about her to 
the king, who would shut her up in a lonely tower and 
prevent her walking in the gardens among her birds and 



176 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

flowers. So when, for the third time, she beheld the 
prince standing before her, she did not scream but sat up 
in bed gazing at him in silent terror. 

1 Do not be afraid/ he said, ' I shall not hurt you ' ; and 
he began to praise her gardens, of which he had heard 
the servants speak, and the birds and flowers which she 
loved, till the princess's anger softened, and she answered 
him with gentle words. Indeed, they soon became so 
friendly that she vowed she would marry no one else, 
and confided to him that in three days her father would 
be off to the wars, leaving his sword in her room. If any 
man could find it and bring it to him he would receive her 
hand as a reward. At this point a cock crew, and the 
youth jumped up hastily, saying : ' Of course I shall ride 
with the king to the war, and if I do not return, take your 
violin every evening to the seashore and play on it, so 
that the very sea-kobolds who live at the bottom of the 
ocean may hear it and come to you.' 

Just as the princess had foretold, in three days the 
king set out for the war with a large following, and 
among them was the young prince, who had presented 
himself at court as a young noble in search of adventures. 
They had left the city many miles behind them, when 
the king suddenly discovered that he had forgotten his 
sword, and though all his attendants instantly offered 
theirs, he declared that he could fight with none but his 
own. 

' The first man who brings it to me from my daughter's 
room/ cried he, ' shall not only have her to wife, but 
after my death shall reign in my stead.' 

At this the Red Knight, the young prince, and several 
more turned their horses to ride as fast as the wind back 
to the palace. But suddenly a better plan entered the 
prince's head, and, letting the others pass him, he took his 
precious parcel from his breast and wished himself a lion. 
Then on he bounded, uttering such dreadful roars that the 
horses were frightened and grew unmanageable, and he 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 177 

easily outstripped them, and soon reached the gates of 
the palace. Here he hastily changed himself into a bee, 
and flew straight into the princess's room, where he 
became a man again. She showed him where the sword 
hung concealed behind a curtain, and he took it down, 
saying as he did so: 'Be sure not to forget what you 
have promised to do/ 

The princess made no reply, but smiled sweetly, and 
slipping a golden ring from her finger she broke it in two 
and held half out silently to the prince, while the other 
half she put in her own pocket. He kissed it, and ran 
down the stairs bearing the sword with him. Some way 
off he met the Red Knight and the rest, and the Red 
Knight at first tried to take the sword from him by force. 
But as the youth proved too strong for him, he gave it up, 
and resolved to wait for a better opportunity. 

This soon came, for the day was hot and the prince 
was thirsty. Perceiving a little stream that ran into the 
sea, he turned aside, and, unbuckling the sword, flung 
himself on the ground for a long drink. Unluckily, the 
mermaid happened at that moment to be floating on the 
water not very far off, and knew he was the boy who had 
been given her before he was born. So she floated gently 
in to where he was lying, she seized him by the arm, and 
the waves closed over them both. Hardly had they dis- 
appeared, when the Red Knight stole cautiously up, and 
could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the king's 
sword on the bank. He wondered what had become of 
the youth, who an hour before had guarded his treasure 
so fiercely ; but, after all, that was no affair of his ! So, 
fastening the sword to his belt, he carried it to the king. 

The war was soon over, and the king returned to his 
people, who welcomed him with shouts of joy. But when 
the princess from her window saw that her betrothed was 
not among the attendants riding behind her father, her 
heart sank, for she knew that some evil must have befallen 
him, and she feared the Red Knight. She had long ago 

BR. v 



178 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

learned how clever and how wicked he was, and some- 
thing whispered to her that it was he who would gain the 
credit of having carried back the sword, and would claim her 
as his bride, though he had never even entered her chamber. 
And she could do nothing ; for although the king loved 
her, he never let her stand in the way of his plans. 

The poor princess was only too right, and everything 
came to pass exactly as she had foreseen it. The king 
told her that the Eed Knight had won her fairly, and 
that the wedding would take place next day, and there 
would be a great feast after it. 

In those days feasts were much longer and more 
splendid than they are now ; and it was growing dark 
when the princess, tired out with all she had gone 
through, stole up to her own room for a little quiet. But 
the moon was shining so brightly over the sea that it 
seemed to draw her towards it, and taking her violin 
under her arm, she crept down to the shore. 

' Listen ! listen ! ' said the mermaid to the prince, who 
was lying stretched on a bed of seaweeds at the bottom 
of the sea. ' Listen ! that is your old love playing, for 
mermaids know everything that happens upon earth.' 

'I hear nothing/ answered the youth, who did not 
look happy. ' Take me up higher, where the sounds can 
reach me.' 

So the mermaid took him on her shoulders and bore 
him up midway to the surface. ' Can you hear now ? ' 
she asked. 

'No/ answered the prince, 'I hear nothing but the 
water rushing ; I must go higher still.' 

Then the mermaid carried him to the very top. ' You 
must surely be able to hear now ? ' said she. 

' Nothing but the water/ repeated the youth. So she 
took him right to the land. 

' At any rate you can hear now ? ' she said again. 

' The water is still rushing in my ears/ answered he ; 
'but wait a little, that will soon pass off.' And as he 



THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 179 

spoke he put his hand into his breast, and seizing the hair 
wished himself a bee, and flew straight into the pocket of 
the princess. The mermaid looked in vain for him, and 
floated all night upon the sea ; but he never came back, 
and never more did he gladden her eyes. But the 
princess felt that something strange was about her, 
though she knew not what, and returned quickly to the 
palace, where the young man at once resumed his own 
shape. Oh, what joy filled her heart at the sight of him ! 
But there was no time to be lost, and she led him right into 
the hall, where the king and his nobles were still sitting 
at the feast. l Here is a man who boasts that he can do 
wonderful tricks/ said she, * better even than the Bed 
Knight's ! That cannot be true, of course ; but it might 
be well to give this impostor a lesson. He pretends, for 
instance, that he can turn himself into a lion ; but that I 
do not believe. I know that you have studied the art of 
magic/ she went on, turning to the Bed Knight, 'so 
suppose you just show him how it is done, and bring 
shame upon him.' 

Now the Bed Knight had never opened a book of magic 
in his life ; but he was accustomed to think that he could 
do everything better than other people without any 
teaching at all. So he turned and twisted himself about, 
and bellowed and made faces ; but he did not become a 
lion for all that. 

'Well, perhaps it is very difficult to change into a 
lion. Make yourself a bear/ said the princess. But the 
Bed Knight found it no easier to become a bear than a 
lion. 

' Try a bee/ suggested she. ' I have always read that 
anyone who can do magic at all can do that.' And the old 
knight buzzed and hummed, but he remained a man and 
not a bee. 

'Now it is your turn/ said the princess to the youth. 
' Let us see if you can change yourself into a lion.' And in 
a moment such a fierce creature stood before them, that 

n2 



180 THE MERMAID AND THE BOY 

all the guests rushed out of the hall, treading each other 
underfoot in their fright. The lion sprang at the Red 
Knight, and would have torn him in pieces had not the 
princess held him back, and bidden him to change himself 
into a man again. And in a second a man took the place 
of the lion. 

' Now become a bear/ said she ; and a bear advanced 
panting and stretching out his arms to the Red Knight, 
who shrank behind the princess. 

By this time some of the guests had regained their 
courage, and returned as far as the door, thinking that if 
it was safe for the princess perhaps it was safe for them. 
The king, who was braver than they, and felt it needful to 
set them a good example besides, had never left his seat, 
and when at a new command of the princess the bear 
once more turned into a man, he was silent from astonish- 
ment, and a suspicion of the truth began to dawn on him. 
' Was it he who fetched the sword ? ? asked the king. 

< Yes, it was/ answered the princess ; and she told him 
the whole story, and how she had broken her gold ring 
and given him half of it. And the prince took out his half 
of the ring, and the princess took out hers, and they fitted 
exactly. Next day the Red Knight was hanged, as he 
richly deserved, and there was a new marriage feast for 
the prince and princess. 

[Lappldndische Mdhrchen.] 



PIVI AND KABO 

When birds were men, and men were birds, Pivi and 
Kabo lived in an island far away, called New Caledonia. 
Pivi was a cheery little bird that chirps at sunset ; Kabo 
was an ugly black fowl that croaks in the darkness. One 
day Pivi and Kabo thought that they would make slings, 
and practise slinging, as the people of the island still do. 
So they went to a banyan tree, and stripped the bark to 
make strings for their slings, and next they repaired to 
the river bank to find stones. Kabo stood on the bank of 
the river, and Pivi went into the water. The game was 
for Kabo to sling at Pivi, and for Pivi to dodge the stones, 
if he could. For some time he dodged them cleverly, but 
at last a stone from Kabo's sling hit poor Pivi on the leg 
and broke it. Down went Pivi into the stream, and 
floated along it, till he floated into a big hollow bamboo, 
which a woman used for washing her sweet potatoes. 

1 What is that in my bamboo ? ' said the woman. And 
she blew in at one end, and blew little Pivi out at the 
other, like a pea from a pea-shooter. 

1 Oh ! ' cried the woman, ' what a state you are in ! 
What have you been doing ? ' 

( It was Kabo who broke my leg at the slinging game/ 
said Pivi. 

I Well, I am sorry for you/ said the woman j ' will you 
come with me, and do what I tell you ? ' 

I I will ! ' said Pivi, for the woman was very kind 
and pretty. She took Pivi into a shed where she kept 
her fruit, laid him on a bed of mats, and made him as 

183 



184 PIVI AND KABO 

comfortable as she could, and attended to his broken leg 
without cutting off the flesh round the bone, as these 
people usually do. 

1 You will be still, won't you, Pivi ? ' she said. l If you 
hear a little noise you will pretend to be dead. It is the 
Black Ant who will come and creep from your feet up to 
your head. Say nothing, and keep quiet, won't you, Pivi ? ' 

' Certainly, kind lady/ said Pivi, ( I will lie as still as 
can be.' 

' Next will come the big Eed Ant — you know him ? ' 

1 Yes, I know him, with his feet like a grasshopper's.' 

i He will walk over your body up to your head. Then 
you must shake all your body. Do you understand, 
Pivi ? ' 

' Yes, dear lady, I shall do just as you say.' 

1 Very good,' said the woman, going out and shutting 
the door. 

Pivi lay still under his coverings, then a tiny noise 
was heard, and the Black Ant began to march over Pivi, 
who lay quite still. Then came the big Eed Ant skipping 
along his body, and then Pivi shook himself all over. He 
jumped up quite well again, he ran to the river, he looked 
into the water and saw that he was changed from a bird 
into a fine young man ! 

i Oh, lady,' he cried, i look at me now ! I am changed 
into a man, and so handsome ! ' 

< Will you obey me again? ' said the woman. 

' Always; whatever you command I will do it,' said 
Pivi, politely. 

' Then climb up that cocoa-nut tree, with your legs 
only, not using your hands,' said the woman. 

Now the natives can run up cocoa-nut trees like 
squirrels, some using only one hand ; the girls can do that. 
But few can climb without using their hands at all. 

' At the top of the tree you will find two cocoa-nuts. 
You must not throw them down, but carry them in your 



PIVI AND KABO 185 

hands ; and you must descend as you went up, using your 
legs only.' 

1 1 shall try, at least/ said Pivi. And up he went, but 
it was very difficult, and down he came. 

'Here are your cocoa-nuts/ he said, presenting them 
to the woman. 

{ Now, Pivi, put them in the shed where you lay, and 
when the sun sets to cool himself in the sea and rise 
again not so hot in the dawn you must go and take the 
nuts/ 

All day Pivi played about in the river, as the natives 
do, throwing fruit and silvery showers of water at each 
other. When the sun set he went into the hut. But as 
he drew near he heard sweet voices talking and laughing 
within. 

( What is that ? People chattering in the hut ! 
Perhaps they have taken my cocoa-nuts/ said Pivi to 
himself. 

In he went, and there he found two pretty, laughing, 
teasing girls. He hunted for his cocoa-nuts, but none 
were there. 

Down he ran to the river. l Oh, lady, my nuts have 
been stolen ! ' he cried. 

s Come with me, Pivi, and there will be nuts for you/ 
said the woman. 

They went back to the hut, where the girls were 
laughing and playing. 

' Nuts for you ? ' said the woman, ' there are two wives 
for you, Pivi, take them to your house.' 

1 Oh, good lady/ cried Pivi, ' how kind you are ! ' 

So they were married and very happy, when in came 
cross old Kabo. 

< Is this Pi vi ? ' said he. ' Yes, it is — no, it isn't. It is 
not the same Pivi — but there is a kind of likeness. Tell 
me, are you Pivi ? ' 

1 Oh, yes ! ' said Pivi. ' But I am much better looking, 
and there are my two wives, are they not beautiful ? ' 



186 PIVI AND KABO 

' You are mocking me, Pivi ! Your wives ? How ? 
Where did you get them ? You, with wives ! ' 

Then Pivi told Kabo about the kind woman, and all 
the wonderful things that had happened to him. 

' Well, well ! ' said Kabo, ' but I want to be handsome 
too, and to have pretty young wives.' 

'But how can we manage that?' asked Pivi. 

'Oh, we shall do all the same things over again — play 
at slinging, and, this time, you shall break my leg, Pivi ! ' 

'With all the pleasure in life/ said Pivi, who was 
always ready to oblige. 

So they went slinging, and Pivi broke Kabo's leg, and 
Kabo fell into the river, and floated into the bamboo, and 
the woman blew him out, just as before. Then she picked 
up Kabo, and put him in the shed, and told him what to 
do when the Black Ant came, and what to do when the 
Ked Ant came. But he didn't ! 

When the Black Ant came, he shook himself, and 
behold, he had a twisted leg, and a hump back, and was 
as black as the ant. 

Then he ran to the woman. 

' Look, what a figure I am ! ' he said ; but she only 
told him to climb the tree, as she had told Pivi. 

But Kabo climbed with both hands and feet, and he 
threw down the nuts, instead of carrying them down, and he 
put them in the hut. And when he went back for them 
there he found two horrid old black hags, wrangling, and 
scolding, and scratching ! So back he went to Pivi with 
his two beautiful wives, and Pivi was very sorry, but what 
could he do ? Nothing, but sit and cry. 

So, one day, Kabo came and asked Pivi to sail in his 
canoe to a place where he knew of a great big shell-fish, 
enough to feed on for a week. Pivi went, and deep in 
the clear water they saw a monstrous shell-fish, like an 
oyster, as. big as a rock, with the shell wide open. 

' We shall catch it, and dry it, and kipper it,' said Pivi, 
' and give a dinner to all our friends ! ' 



PIVI AND KABO 189 



1 1 shall dive for it, and break it off the rock/ said Kabo, 
' and then you must help me to drag it up into the canoe.' 

There the shell-fish lay and gaped, but Kabo, though 
he dived in, kept well out of the way of the beast. 

Up he came, puffing and blowing : ' Oh, Pivi,' he cried, 
' I cannot move it. Jump in and try yourself ! ' 

Pivi dived, with his spear, and the shell-fish opened 
its shell wider yet, and sucked, and Pivi disappeared into 
its mouth, and the shell shut up with a snap ! 

Kabo laughed like a fiend, and then went home. 

1 Where is Pivi ? ' asked the two pretty girls. Kabo 
pretended to cry, and told how Pivi had been swallowed. 

1 But dry your tears, my darlings/ said Kabo, ( I will 
be your husband, and my wives shall be your slaves. 
Everything is for the best, in the best of all possible 
worlds.' 

' No, no ! ' cried the girls, ' we love Pivi. We do not 
love anyone else. We shall stay at home, and weep for 
Pivi ! ' 

1 Wretched idiots ! ' cried Kabo ; l Pivi was a scoundrel 
who broke my leg, and knocked me into the river.' 

Then a little cough was heard at the door, and Kabo 
trembled, for he knew it was the cough of Pivi ! 

1 Ah, dear Pivi ! ' cried Kabo, rushing to the door. 
1 What joy ! I was trying to console your dear wives.' 

Pivi said not one word. He waved his hand, and five 
and twenty of his friends came trooping down the hill. 
They cut up Kabo into little pieces. Pivi turned round, 
and there was the good woman of the river. 

< Pivi,' she said, ' how did you get out of the living 
tomb into which Kabo sent you ? ' 

( I had my spear with me,' said Pivi. i It was quite 
dry inside the shell, and I worked away at the fish with 
my spear, till he saw reason to open his shell, and out I 
came.' Then the good woman laughed ; and Pivi and his 
two wives lived happy ever afterwards. 

[Moncelon. Bulletin de la Sociiti d' Anthropologic Series iii vol. ix., pp.613-635.] 



TEE ELF MAIDEN 

Once upon a time two young men living in a small 
village fell in love with the same girl. During the 
winter, it was all night except for an hour or so about 
noon, when the darkness seemed a little less dark, and 
then they used to see which of them could tempt her out 
for a sleigh ride with the Northern Lights flashing above 
them, or which could persuade her to come to a dance 
in some neighbouring barn. • But when the spring began, 
and the light grew longer, the hearts of the villagers 
leapt at the sight of the sun, and a day was fixed for the 
boats to be brought out, and the great nets to be spread 
in the bays of some islands that lay a few miles to the 
north. Everybody went on this expedition, and the two 
young men and the girl went with them. 

They all sailed merrily across the sea chattering 
like a flock of magpies, or singing their favourite songs. 
And when they reached the shore, what an unpacking 
there was! For this was a noted fishing ground, and 
here they would live, in little wooden huts, till autumn 
and bad weather came round again. 

The maiden and the two young men happened to 
share the same hut with some friends, and fished daily 
from the same boat. And as time went on, one of the 
youths remarked that the girl took less notice of him 
than she did of his companion. At first he tried to think 
that he was dreaming, and for a long while he kept his 
eyes shut very tight to what he did not want to see, 
but in spite of his efforts, the truth managed to wriggle 
through, and then the young man gave up trying to 

190 



THE ELF MAIDEN 191 

deceive himself, and set about finding some way to get 
the better of his rival. 

The plan that he hit upon could not be carried out for 
some months ; but the longer the young man thought of 
it, the more pleased he was with it, so he made no sign 
of his feelings, and waited patiently till the moment came. 
This was the very day that they were all going to leave 
the islands, and sail back to the mainland for the winter. 
In the bustle and hurry of departure, the cunning fisher- 
man contrived that their boat should be the last to put 
off, and when everything was ready, and the sails about 
to be set, he suddenly called out : 

1 Oh, dear, what shall I do ! I have left my best knife 
behind in the hut. Run, like a good fellow, and get it for 
me, while I raise the anchor and loosen the tiller/ 

Not thinking any harm, the youth jumped back on 
shore and made his way up the steep bank. At the door 
of the hut he stopped and looked back, then started and 
gazed in horror. The head of the boat stood out to sea, 
and he was left alone on the island. 

Yes, there was no doubt of it — he was quite alone; 
and he had nothing to help him except the knife which 
his comrade had purposely dropped on the ledge of the 
window. For some minutes he was too stunned by the 
treachery of his friend to think about anything at all, 
but after a while he shook himself awake, and determined 
that he would manage to keep alive somehow, if it were 
only to revenge himself. 

So he put the knife in his pocket and went off to a 
part of the island which was not so bare as the rest, and 
had a small grove of trees. From one of these he cut 
himself a bow, which he strung with a piece of cord that 
had been left lying about the huts. 

When this was ready the young man ran down to the 
shore and shot one or two sea-birds, which he plucked 
and cooked for supper. 

In this way the months slipped by, and Christmas 



192 THE ELF MAIDEN 

came round again. The evening before, the youth went 
down to the rocks and into the copse, collecting all the 
drift wood the sea had washed up or the gale had blown 
down, and he piled it up in a great stack outside the door, 
so that he might not have to fetch any all the next day. 
As soon as his task was done, he paused and looked out 
towards the mainland, thinking of Christmas Eve last 
year, and the merry dance they had had. The night was 
still and cold, and by the help of the Northern Lights 
he could almost see across to the opposite coast, when, 
suddenly, he noticed a boat, which seemed steering 
straight for the island. At first he could hardly stand 
for joy, the chance of speaking to another man was so 
delightful; but as the boat drew near there was some- 
thing, he could not tell what, that was different from the 
boats which he had been used to all his life, and when it 
touched the shore he saw that the people that filled it 
were beings of another world than ours. Then he hastily 
stepped behind the wood stack, and waited for what might 
happen next. 

The strange folk one by one jumped on to the rocks, 
each bearing a load of something that they wanted. 
Among the women he remarked two young girls, more 
beautiful and better dressed than any of the rest, carrying 
between them two great baskets full of provisions. The 
young man peeped out cautiously to see what all this 
crowd could be doing inside the tiny hut, but in a moment 
he drew back again, as the girls returned, and looked 
about as if they wanted to find out what sort of a place 
the island was. 

Their sharp eyes soon discovered the form of a man 
crouching behind the bundles of sticks, and at first they 
felt a little frightened, and started as if they would run 
away. But the youth remained so still, that they took 
courage and laughed gaily to each other. ( What a strange 
creature, let us try what he is made of,' said one, and she 
stooped down and gave him a pinch. 



THE ELF MAIDEN 193 

Now the young man had a pin sticking in the sleeve 
of his jacket, and the moment the girl's hand touched 
him she pricked it so sharply that the blood came. The 
girl screamed so loudly that the people all ran out of 
their huts to see what was the matter. But directly they 
caught sight of the man they turned and fled in the other 
direction, and picking up the goods they had brought 
with them scampered as fast as they could down to the 
shore. In an instant, boat, people, and goods had 
vanished completely. 

In their hurry they had, however, forgotten two things : 
a bundle of keys which lay on the table, and the girl 
whom the pin had pricked, and who now stood pale and 
helpless beside the wood stack. 

1 You will have to make me your wife/ she said at 
last, ' for you have drawn my blood, and I belong to you/ 

' Why not ? I am quite willing/ answered he. ' But 
how do you suppose we can manage to live till summer 
comes round again ? ' 

' Do not be anxious about that/ said the girl ; ' if you 
will only marry me all will be well. I am very rich, and 
all my family are rich also/ 

Then the young man gave her his promise to make 
her his wife, and the girl fulfilled her part of the bargain, 
and food was plentiful on the island all through the long 
winter months, though he never knew how it got there. 
And by-and-by it was spring once more, and time for the 
fisher-folk to sail from the mainland. 

I Where are we to go now ? ; asked the girl, one day, 
when the sun seemed brighter and the wind softer than 
usual. 

I I do not care where I go/ answered the young man j 
' what do you think ? ' 

The girl replied that she would like to go somewhere 
right at the other end of the island, and build a house, 
far away from the huts of the fishing-folk. And he 
consented, and that very day they set off in search of a 

BR. O 



194 THE ELF MAIDEN 

sheltered spot on the banks of a stream, so that it would 
be easy to get water. 

In a tiny bay, on the opposite side of the island, they 
found the very thing, which seemed to have been made on 
purpose for them ; and as they were tired with their long 
walk, they laid themselves down on a bank of moss 
among some birches and prepared to have a good night's 
rest, so as to be fresh for work next day. But before she 
went to sleep the girl turned to her husband, and said : 
' If in your dreams you fancy that you hear strange noises, 
be sure you do not stir, or get up to see what it is/ 

* Oh, it is not likely we shall hear any noises in such 
a quiet place/- answered he, and fell sound asleep. 

Suddenly he was awakened by a great clatter about his 
ears, as if all the workmen in the world were sawing and 
hammering and building close to him. He was just going 
to spring up and go to see what it meant, when he luckily 
remembered his wife's words and lay still. But the time 
till morning seemed very long, and with the first ray of 
sun they both rose, and pushed aside the branches of 
the birch trees. There, in the very place they had chosen, 
stood a beautiful house — doors and windows, and every- 
thing all complete ! 

' Now you must fix on a spot for your cow-stalls,' said 
the girl, when they had breakfasted oif wild cherries; 'and 
take care it is the proper size, neither too large nor too 
small.' And the husband did as he was bid, though he 
wondered what use a cow-house could be, as they had no 
cows to put in it. But as he was a little afraid of his wife, 
who knew so much more than he, he asked no questions. 

This night also he was awakened by the same sounds 
as before, and in the morning they found, near the stream, 
the most beautiful cow-house that ever was seen, with 
stalls and milk-pails and stools all complete, indeed, every- 
thing that a cow-house could possibly want, except the 
cows. Then the girl bade him measure out the ground for 
a storehouse, and this, she said, might be as large as he 



THE ELF MAIDEN 



195 



pleased; and when the storehouse was ready she proposed 
that they should set off to pay her parents a visit. 




THE ELF MAIDEN'S HOUSE 



The old people welcomed them heartily, and summoned 
their neighbours, for many miles round, to a great feast 
in their honour. In fact, for several weeks there was no 

o 2 



196 THE ELF MAIDEN 

work done on the farm at all ; and at length the young 
man and his wife grew tired of so much play, and declared 
that they must return to their own home. But, before 
they started on the journey, the wife whispered to her 
husband : ' Take care to jump over the threshold as quick 
as you can, or it will be the worse for you.' 

The young man listened to her words, and sprang over 
the threshold like an arrow from a bow ; and it was well 
he did, for, no sooner was he on the other side, than his 
father-in-law threw a great hammer at him, which would 
have broken both his legs, if it had only touched them. 

When they had gone some distance on the road home, 
the girl turned to her husband and said : ' Till you step 
inside- the house, be sure you do not look back, whatever 
you may hear or see/ 

And the husband promised, and for a while all was 
still ; and he thought no more about the matter till he 
noticed at last that the nearer he drew to the house the 
louder grew the noise of the trampling of feet behind him. 
As he laid his hand upon the door he thought he was 
safe, and turned to look. There, sure enough, was a vast 
herd of cattle, which had been sent after him by his 
father-in-law when he found that his daughter had been 
cleverer than he. Half of the herd were already through 
the fence and cropping the grass on the banks of the 
stream, but half still remained outside and faded into 
nothing, even as he watched them. 

However, enough cattle were left to make the young 
man rich, and he and his wife lived happily together, 
except that every now and then the girl vanished from 
his sight, and never told him where she had been. For a 
long time he kept silence about it ; but one day, when he 
had been complaining of her absence, she said to him : 
1 Dear husband, I am bound to go, even against my will, 
and there is only one way to stop me. Drive a nail into 
the threshold, and then I can never pass in or out.' 

And so he did. 

[Lappldndische Mdhrchen.} 



HOW SOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME 
TAME ONES 

Once upon a time there lived a miller who was so rich 
that, when he was going to be married, he asked to the 
feast not only his own friends but also the wild animals 
who dwelt in the hills and woods round about. The 
chief of the bears, the wolves, the foxes, the horses, the 
cows, the goats, the sheep, and the reindeer, all received 
invitations ; and as they were not accustomed to weddings 
they were greatly pleased and nattered, and sent back 
messages in the politest language that they would certainly 
be there. 

The first to start on the morning of the wedding-day 
was the bear, who always liked to be punctual; and, 
besides, he had a long way to go, and his hair, being so 
thick and rough, needed a good brushing before it was fit 
to be seen at a party. However, he took care to awaken 
very early, and set off down the road with a light heart. 
Before he had walked very far he met a boy who came 
whistling along, hitting at the tops of the flowers with a 
stick. 

* Where are you going ? ' said he, looking at the bear 
in surprise, for he was an old acquaintance, and not 
generally so smart. 

c Oh, just to the miller's marriage,' answered the bear 
carelessly. * Of course, I would much rather stay at home, 
but the miller was so anxious I should be there that I 
really could not refuse.' 

' Don't go, don't go ! ' cried the boy. * If you do you 

197 



198 HO WSOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME TAME 

will never come back ! You have got the most beautiful 
skin in the world — just the kind that everyone is want- 
ing, and they will be sure to kill you and strip you of it.' 

c I had not thought of that/ said the bear, whose face 
turned white, only nobody could see it. 'If you are 
certain that they would be so wicked — but perhaps you 
are jealous because nobody has invited you V 

i Oh, nonsense ! ' replied the boy angrily, l do as you 
see fit. It is your skin, and not mine ; i" don't care what 
becomes of it ! ' And he walked quickly on with his head 
in the air. 

The bear waited until he was out of sight, and then 
followed him slowly, for he felt in his heart that the boy's 
advice was good, though he was too proud to say so. 

The boy soon grew tired of walking along the road, 
and turned off into the woods, where there were bushes 
he could jump and streams he could wade ; but he had 
not gone far before he met the wolf. 

1 Where are you going ? ' asked he, for it was not the 
first time he had seen him. 

< Oh, just to the miller's marriage,' answered the wolf, 
as the bear had done before him. ' It is rather tiresome, 
of course — weddings are always so stupid ; but still one 
must be good-natured ! ' 

1 Don't go!' said the boy again. 'Your skin is so 
thick and warm, and winter is not far off now. They 
will kill you, and strip it from you.' 

The wolf's jaw dropped in astonishment and terror. 
' Do you really think that would happen ? ' he gasped. 

' Yes, to be sure, I do,' answered the boy. ' But it is 
your affair, not mine. So good-morning,' and on he 
went. The wolf stood still for a few minutes, for he was 
trembling all over, and then crept quietly back to his cave. 

Next the boy met the fox, whose lovely coat of silvery 
grey was shining in the sun. 

' You look very fine ! ' said the boy, stopping to 
admire him, * are you going to the miller's wedding too ? ' 



HOW SOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME TAME 199 

1 Yes,' answered the fox ; l it is a long journey to take 
for such a thing as that, but you know what the miller's 
friends are like — so dull and heavy ! It is only kind to 
go and amuse them a little.' 

1 You poor fellow, 5 said the boy pityingly. ' Take my 
advice and stay at home. If you once enter the miller's 
gate his dogs will tear you in pieces/ 

1 Ah, well, such things have occurred, I know,' replied 
the fox gravely. And without saying any more he trotted 
off the way he had come. 

His tail had scarcely disappeared, when a great noise 
of crashing branches was heard, and up bounded the 
horse, his black skin glistening like satin. 

' Good-morning/ he called to the boy as he galloped 
past, ' 1 can't wait to talk to you now. I have promised 
the miller to be present at his wedding-feast, and they 
won't sit down till I come.' 

' Stop ! stop ! ' cried the boy after him, and there was 
something in his voice that made the horse pull up. 
' What is the matter ? ' asked he. 

1 You don't know what you are doing,' said the boy. 
' If once you go there you will never gallop through these 
woods any more. You are stronger than many men, but 
they will catch you and put ropes round you, and you 
will have to work and to serve them all the days of your 
life.' 

The horse threw back his head at these words, and 
laughed scornfully. 

'Yes, I am stronger than many men,' answered he, 
'and all the ropes in the world would not hold me. Let 
them bind me as fast as they will, I can always break 
loose, and return to the forest and freedom.' 

And with this proud speech he gave a whisk of his 
long tail, and galloped away faster than before. 

But when he reached the miller's house everything 
happened as the boy had said. While he was looking at 
the guests and thinking how much handsomer and stronger 



200 HOW SOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME TAME 

he was than any of them, a rope was suddenly flung 
over his head, and he was thrown down and a bit thrust 
between his teeth. Then, in spite of his struggles, he 
was dragged to a stable, and shut up for several days 
without any food, till his spirit was broken and his coat 
had lost its gloss. After that he was harnessed to a 
plough, and had plenty of time to remember all he had 
lost through not listening to the counsel of the boy. 

When the horse had turned a deaf ear to his words 
the boy wandered idly along, sometimes gathering wild 
strawberries from a bank, and sometimes plucking wild 
cherries from a tree, till he reached a clearing in the 
middle of the forest. Crossing this open space was a 
beautiful milk-white cow with a wreath of flowers round 
her neck. 

' Good-morning/ she said pleasantly, as she came up 
to the place where the boy was standing. 

1 Good- morning,' he returned. ' Where are you going 
in such a hurry ? ' 

'To the miller's wedding; I am rather late already, 
for the wreath took such a long time to make, so I can't 
stop.' 

' Don't go,' said the boy earnestly ; ' when once they 
have tasted your milk they will never let you leave them, 
and you will have to serve them all the days of your life.' 

' Oh, nonsense ; what do you know about it ? ' answered 
the cow, who always thought she was wiser than other 
people. ' Why, I can run twice as fast as any of them ! 
I should like to see anybody try to keep me against my 
will.' And, without even a polite bow, she went on her 
way, feeling very much offended. 

But everything turned out just as the boy had said. 
The company had all heard of the fame of the cow's milk, 
and persuaded her to give them some, and then her 
doom was sealed. A crowd gathered round her, and held 
her horns so that she could not use them, and, like the 
horse, she was shut in the stable, and only let out in the 



HOW SOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME TAME 201 

mornings, when a long rope was tied round her head, and 
she was fastened to a stake in a grassy meadow. 

And so it happened to the goat and to the sheep. 

Last of all came the reindeer, looking as he always 
did, as if some serious business was on hand. 

' Where are you going ? ' asked the boy, who by this 
time was tired of wild cherries, and was thinking of his 
dinner. 

{ I am invited to the wedding/ answered the reindeer, 
' and the miller has begged me on no account to fail him/ 

' fool ! ' cried the boy, * have you no sense at all ? 
Don't you know that when you get there they will hold 
you fast, for neither beast nor bird is as strong or as swift 
as you ? ' 

'That is exactly why I am quite safe/ replied the 
reindeer. 'I am so strong that no one can bind me, and 
so swift that not even an arrow can catch me. So, good- 
bye for the present, you will soon see me back. 5 

But none of the animals that went to the miller's 
wedding ever came back. And because they were self- 
willed and conceited, and would not listen to good advice, 
they and their children have been the servants of men to 
this very day. 

lLappldndische Mdhrch&n.} 



FORTUNE AND THE WOOD-CUTTER 

Several hundreds of years ago there lived in a forest a 
wood-cutter and his wife and children. He was very poor, 
having only his axe to depend upon, and two mules to 
carry the wood he cut to the neighbouring town ; but he 
worked hard, and was always out of bed by five o'clock, 
summer and winter. 

This went on for twenty years, and though his sons 
were now grown up, and went with their father to the 
forest, everything seemed to go against them, and they 
remained as poor as ever. In the end the wood-cutter lost 
heart, and said to himself: 

' What is the good of working like this if I never am 
a penny the richer at the end ? I shall go to the forest 
no more ! And perhaps, if I take to my bed, and do not 
run after Fortune, one day she may come to me.' 

So the next morning he did not get up, and when six 
o'clock struck, his wife, who had been cleaning the house, 
went to see what was the matter. 

'Are you ill?' she asked wonderingly, surprised at 
not finding him dressed. ' The cock has crowed ever so 
often. It is high time for you to get up.' 

1 Why should I get up ? ' asked the man, without 
moving. 

1 Why ? to go to the forest, of course.' 

' Yes ; and when I have toiled all day I hardly earn 
enough to give us one meal.' 

' But what can we do, my poor husband ? ' said she. 
( It is just a trick of Fortune's, who would never smile 
upon us.' 

202 



FORTUNE AND THE WOOD-CUTTER 203 

'Well, I have had my fill of Fortune's tricks,' cried 
he. ' If she wants me she can find me here. But I have 
done with the wood for ever.' 

'My dear husband, grief has driven you mad! Do 
you think Fortune will come to anybody who does not 
go after her? Dress yourself, and saddle the mules, 
and begin your work. Do you know that there is not a 
morsel of bread in the house ? ' 

' I don't care if there isn't, and I am not going to the 
forest. It is no use your talking ; nothing will make me 
change my mind.' 

The distracted wife begged and implored in vain ; her 
husband persisted in staying in bed, and at last, in despair, 
she left him and went back to her work. 

An hour or two later a man from the nearest village 
knocked at the door, and when she opened it, he said to 
her : ' Good-morning, mother. I have got a job to do, 
and I want to know if your husband will lend me your 
mules, as I see he is not using them, and can lend me a 
hand himself ? ' 

'He is upstairs; yon had better ask him,' answered 
the woman. And the man went up, and repeated his 
request. 

' I am sorry, neighbour, but I have sworn not to leave 
my bed, and nothing will make me break my vow.' 

' Well, then, will you lend me your two mules ? I will 
pay you something for them.' 

' Certainly, neighbour. Take them and welcome.' 

So the man left the house, and leading the mules from 
the stable, placed two sacks on their back, and drove 
them to a field where he had found a hidden treasure. 
He filled the sacks with the money, though he knew 
perfectly well that it belonged to the sultan, and was 
driving them quietly home again, when he saw two 
soldiers coming along the road. Now the man was aware 
that if he was caught he would be condemned to death, 
so he fled back into the forest. The mules, left to 



204 FORTUNE AND THE WOOD-CUTTER 

themselves, took the path that led to their master's 
stable. 

The wood-cutter's wife was looking out of the window 
when the mules drew up before the door, so heavily laden 
that they almost sank under their burdens. She lost no 
time in calling her husband, who was still lying in bed. 

1 Quick, quick! get up as fast as you can. Our two 
mules have returned with sacks on their backs, so heavily 
laden with something or other that the poor beasts can 
hardly stand up.' 

'Wife, I have told you a dozen times already that 
I am not going to get up. Why can't you leave me in 
peace 9 ' 

As she found she could get no help from her husband 
the woman took a large knife and cut the cords which 
bound the sacks on to the animals' backs. They fell at 
once to the ground, and out poured a rain of gold pieces, 
till the little court-yard shone like the sun. 

' A treasure ! ' gasped the woman, as soon as she 
could speak from surprise. ' A treasure ! ' And she ran 
off to tell her husband. 

' Get up ! get up ! ' she cried. ' You were quite right 
not to go to the forest, and to await Fortune in your bed ; 
she has come at last ! Our mules have returned home 
laden with all the gold in the world, and it is now lying 
in the court. No one in the whole country can be as rich 
as we are ! ' 

In an instant the wood-cutter was on his feet, and 
running to the court, where he paused, dazzled by the 
glitter of the coins which lay. around him. 

' You see, my dear wife, that I was right,' he said at 
last. i Fortune is so capricious, you can never count on 
her. Kun after her, and she is sure to fly from you; 
stay still, and she is sure to come.' 

[Traditions Populaires de VAsie Mineure.] 



THE ENCHANTED HEAD 

Once upon a time an old woman lived in a small cottage 
near the sea with her two daughters. They were very 
poor, and the girls seldom left the house, as they worked 
all day long making veils for the ladies to wear over their 
faces, and every morning, when the veils were finished, 
the mother took them over the bridge and sold them in 
the city. Then she bought the food that they needed for 
the day, and returned home to do her share of veil-making. 

One morning the old woman rose even earlier than 
usual, and set off for the city with her wares. She was just 
crossing the bridge when, suddenly, she knocked up against 
a human head, which she had never seen there before. 
The woman started back in horror; but what was her 
surprise when the head spoke, exactly as if it had a body 
joined on to it. 

1 Take me with you, good mother ! ' it said imploringly ; 
' take me with you back to your house.' 

At the sound of these words the poor woman nearly 
went mad with terror. Have that horrible thing always 
at home ? Never !' never ! And she turned and ran back 
as fast as she could, not knowing that the head was 
jumping, dancing, and rolling after her. But when she 
reached her own door it bounded in before her, and 
stopped in front of the fire, begging and praying to be 
allowed to stay. 

All that day there was no food in the house, for the 
veils had not been sold, and they had no money to buy 

205 



206 THE ENCHANTED HEAD 

anything with. So they all sat silent at their work, 
inwardly cursing the head which was the cause of their 
misfortunes. 

When evening came, and there was no sign of supper, 
the head spoke, for the first time that day : 

1 Good mother, does no one ever eat here ? During all 
the hours I have spent in your house not a creature has 
touched anything/ 
«4 'No/ answered the old woman, 'we are not eating 
anything.' 

' And why not, good mother ? ' 

' Because we have no money to buy any food.' 

' Is it your custom never to eat ? J 

'No, for every morning I go into the city to sell my 
veils, and with the few shillings I get for them I buy all 
we want. To-day I did not cross the bridge, so of course 
I had nothing for food/ 

' Then I am the cause of your having gone hungry all 
day ? ' asked the head. 

' Yes, you are/ answered the old woman. 

' Well, then, I will give you money and plenty of it, if 
you will only do as I tell you. In an hour, as the clock 
strikes twelve, you must be on the bridge at the place 
where you met me. When you get there call out " Ahmed," 
three times, as loud as you can. Then a negro will appear, 
and you must say to him : " The head, your master, desires 
you to open the trunk, and to give me the green purse 
which you will find in it." ' 

'Very well, my lord,' said the old woman, ' I will set off 
at once for the bridge.' And wrapping her veil round her 
she went out. 

Midnight was striking as she reached the spot where 
she had met the head so many hours before. 

'Ahmed! Ahmed! Ahmed!' cried she, and im- 
mediately a huge negro, as tall as a giant, stood on the 
bridge before her. 

' What do you want ? ' asked he. 



THE ENCHANTED HEAD 207 

'The head, your master, desires you to open the trunk, 
and to give me the green purse which you will find in it.' 

'I will be back in a moment, good mother/ said he. 
And three minutes later he placed a purse full of sequins 
in the old woman's hand. 

No one can imagine the joy of the whole family at the 
sight of all this wealth. The tiny, tumble-down cottage 
was rebuilt, the girls had new uresses^ind their mother 
ceased selling veils. It was such a new thing to them to 
have money to spend, that they were not as careful as 
they might have been, and by-and-by there was not a 
single coin left in the purse. When this happened their 
hearts sank within them, and their faces fell. 

' Have you spent your fortune ? } asked the head from 
its corner, when it saw how sad they looked. ' Well, then, 
go at midnight, good mother, to the bridge, and call out 
" Mahomet ! " three times, as loud as you can. ~A negro 
will appear in answer, and you must tell him to open the 
trunk, and to give you the red purse which he will find 
there/ 

The old woman did not need twice telling, but set off 
at once for the bridge. 

'Mahomet! Mahomet! Mahomet ! J cried she, with all 
her might; and in an instant a negro, still larger than the 
last, stood before her. 

1 What do you want ? ' asked he. 

1 The head, your master, bids you open the trunk, and 
to give me the red purse which you will find in it* 

' Very well, good mother, I will do so/ answered the 
negro, and, the moment after he had vanished, he re- 
appeared with the purse in his hand. 

This time the money seemed so endless that the old 
woman built herself a new house, and filled it with the 
most beautiful things that were to be found in the shops. 
Her daughters were always wrapped in veils that looked 
as if they were woven out of sunbeams, and their dresses 
shone with precious stones. The neighbours wondered 



V 



208 THE ENCHANTED HEAD 

where all this sudden wealth had sprung from, but no- 
body knew about the head. 

1 Good mother/ said the head, one day, ' this morning 
you^are to go to the city and ask the sultan to give me 
his daughter for my bride.' 

'Do what?' asked the old woman in amazement. 
' How can I tell the sultan that a head without a body 
wishes to become his son-in-law ? They will think that I 
am mad, and I shall be hooted from the palace and stoned 
by the children/ 

1 Do as I bid you/ replied the head ; ' it is my will/ 

The old woman was afraid to say anything more, 
and, putting on her richest clothes, started for the palace. 
The sultan granted her an audience at once, and, in a 
trembling voice, she made her request. 

' Are you mad, old woman ? ' said the sultan, staring 
at her. 

' The wooer is powerful, Sultan, and nothing is im- 
possible to him.' 

'Is that true?' 

' It is, Sultan ; I swear it/ answered she. 

' Then let him show his power by doing three things, 
and I will give him my daughter/ 

' Command, gracious prince/ said she. 

1 Do you see that hill in front of the palace ? ' asked 
the sultan. 

' I see it/ answered she. 

' Well, in forty days the man who has sent you must 
make that hill vanish, and plant a beautiful garden in its 
place. That is the first thing. Now go, and tell him what 
I say/ 

So the old woman returned and told the head the 
sultan's first condition. 

' It is well/ he replied ; and said no more about it. 

For thirty-nine days the head remained in its favourite 
corner. The old woman thought that the task set before 
him was beyond his powers, and that no more would be 



THE ENCHANTED HEAD 209 

heard about the sultan's daughter. But on the thirty- 
ninth evening after her visit to the palace, the head 
suddenly spoke. 

' Good mother/ he said, ' you must go to-night to the 
bridge, and when you are there cry " Ali ! Ali ! Ali ! " as 
loud as you can. A negro will appear before you, and 
you will tell him that he is to level the hill, and to make, 
in its place, the most beautiful garden that ever was 
seen.' 

'I will go at once,' answered she. 

It did not take her long to reach the bridge which led 
to the city, and she took up her position on the spot where 
she had first seen the head, and called loudly l Ali ! Ali ! 
Ali ! ^ In an instant a negro appeared before her, of such a 
huge size that the old woman was half frightened; but 
his voice was mild and gentle as he said : ' What is it that 
you want ? ' 

'Your master bids you level the hill that stands in 
front of the sultan's palace and in its place to make the 
most beautiful garden in the world/ 

1 Tell my master he shall be obeyed/ replied Ali ; l it 
shall be done this moment/ And the old woman went 
home and gave Air's message to the head. 
/f Meanwhile the sultan was in his palace waiting till 
the fortieth day should dawn, and wondering that not 
one spadeful of earth should have been dug out of the 
hill. 

' If that old woman has been playing me a trick/ 
thought he, ' I will hang her ! And I will put up a gallows 
to-morrow on the hill itself.' 

But when to-morrow came there was no hill, and when 
the sultan opened his eyes he could not imagine why the 
room was so much lighter than usual, and what was the 
reason of the sweet smell of flowers that filled the air. 

1 Can there be a fire ? ' he said to himself ; ' the sun 
never came in at this window before. I must get up 
and see.' So he rose and looked out, and underneath him 

BR. p 



210 THE ENCHANTED HEAD 

flowers from every part of the world were blooming, and 
creepers of every colour hung in chains from tree to 
tree. 

Then he remembered. ( Certainly that old woman's 
son is a clever magician ! ' cried he ; ' I never met anyone 
as clever as that* What shall I give him to do next ? 
Let me think. Ah! I know/ And he sent for the old 
woman, who, by the orders of the head, was waiting 
below. 

1 Your son has carried out my wishes very nicely,' he 
said. ' The garden is larger and better than that of any 
other king. But when I walk across it I shall need some 
place to rest on the other side. In forty days he must 
build me a palace, in which every room shall be filled 
with different furniture from a different country, and each 
more .magnificent than any room that ever was seen.' 
And having said this he turned round and went away. 

' Oh ! he will never be able to do that/ thought she ; 
' it is much more difficult than the hill.' And she walked 
home slowly, with her head bent. 
, T ' Well, what am I to do next?' asked the head cheer- 
fully. • And the old woman told her story. 

( Dear me ! is that all ? why it is child's play,' answered 
the head; and troubled no more about the palace for 
thirty-nine days. Then he told the old woman to go to 
the bridge and call for Hassan. 

1 What do you want, old woman ? ' asked Hassan, when 
■ he appeared, for he was not as polite as the others had 
been. 

1 Your master commands you to build the most mag- 
nificent palace that ever was seen,' replied she, l and you 
are to place it on the borders of the new garden.' 

' He shall be obeyed,' answered Hassan. And when the 
sultan woke he saw, in the distance, a palace built of soft 
blue marble, resting on slender pillars of pure gold. 

1 That old woman's son is certainly all-powerful,' cried 
he ; ' what shall I bid him do now ? ' And after thinking 



35M 




THE PRINCESS <SEES THE MAGIC HEAD 



THE ENCHANTED HEAD 213 

some time he sent for the old woman, who was expecting 
the summons. 

' The garden is wonderful, and the palace the finest in 
the world/ said he, l so fine, that my servants would cut 
but a sorry figure in it. Let your son fill it with forty 
slaves whose beauty shall be unequalled, all exactly like 
each other, and of the same height.' 

This time the king thought he had invented something 
totally impossible, and was quite pleased with himself for 
his cleverness. 

Thirty-nine days passed, and at midnight on the night 
of the last the old woman was standing on the bridge. 

1 Bekir ! Bekir ! Bekir ! ' cried she. And a negro 
appeared^ and inquired what she wanted. 

' The head, your master, bids you find forty slaves of 
unequalled beauty, and of the same height, and place 
them in the sultan's palace on the other side of the 
garden.' 

And when, on the morning of the fortieth day, the 
sultan went to the blue palace, and was received by the 
forty slaves, he nearly lost his wits from surprise. 

( I will assuredly give my daughter to the old woman's 
son,' thought he. 'If I were to search all the world 
through I could never find a more powerful son-in-law.' 

And when the old woman entered his presence he 
informed her that he was ready to fulfil his promise, and 
she was to bid her son appear at the palace without 
delay. 

This command did not at all please the old woman, 
though, of course, she made no objections to the sultan. 

'All has gone well so far,' she grumbled, when she 

J told her story to the head, < but what do you suppose the 

^ sultan will say, when he sees his daughter's husband ? ' 

?♦ A 'Never mind what he says ! Put me on a silver dish 

and carry me to the palace.' 

So it was done, though the old woman's heart beat 
" as she laid down the dish with the head upon it. 



214 THE ENCHANTED HEAD 

At the sight before him the king flew into a violent 
rage. 

'I will never marry my daughter to such a monster/ 1% 
he cried. But the princess placed her hand gently on his 
arm. 

'You have given your word, my father, and you cannot 
break it/ said she. 

' But, my child, it is impossible for you to marry such 
a being/ exclaimed the sultan. 

' Yes, I will marry him. He has a beautiful head, and 
I love him already.' 

So the marriage was celebrated, and great feasts were 
held in the palace, though the people wept tears to think 
of the sad fate of their beloved princess. But when the 
merry-making was done, and the young couple were alone, 
the head suddenly disappeared, or, rather, a body was added 
to it, and one of the handsomest young men that ever was 
seen stood before the princess. 

< A wicked fairy enchanted me at my birth/ he said, 
' and for the rest of the world I must always be a head 
only. But for you, and you only, I am a man like other 
men.' 

' And that is all I care about/ said the princess. 

[Traditions populairea de toutea lea nations (Asie Jfineure)]. 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

A long time ago there lived a young prince whose 
favourite playfellow was the son of the gardener who 
lived in the grounds of the palace. The king would have 
preferred his choosing a friend from the pages who were 
brought up at court; but the prince would have nothing 
to say to them, and as he was a spoilt child, and allowed 
his way in all things, and the gardener's boy was quiet 
and well-behaved, he was suffered to be in the palace, 
morning, noon, and night. 

The game the children loved the best was a match at 
archery, for the king had given them two bows exactly 
alike, and they would spend whole days in trying to see 
which could shoot the highest. This is always very 
dangerous, and it was a great wonder they did not put 
their eyes out; but somehow or other they managed to 
escape. 

One morning, when the prince had done his lessons, 
he ran out to call his friend, and they both hurried off to 
the lawn which was their usual playground. They took 
their bows out of the little hut where their toys were kept, 
and began to see which could shoot the highest. At last 
they happened to let fly their arrows both together, and 
when they fell to earth again the tail feather of a golden 
hen was found sticking in one. Now the question began 
to arise whose was the lucky arrow, for they were both 
alike, and look as closely as you would you could see 
no difference between them. The prince declared that 
the arrow was his, and the gardener's boy was quite sure 

215 



216 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

it was his — and on this occasion he was perfectly right ; 
but, as they could not decide the matter, they went 
straight to the king. 

When the king had heard the story, he decided that 
the feather belonged to his son ; but the other boy would 
not listen to this and claimed the feather for himself. At 
length the king's patience gave way, and he said angrily : 

'Very well; if you are so sure that the feather is 
yours, yours it shall be ; only you will have to seek till 
you find a golden hen with a feather missing from her 
tail. And if you fail to find her your head will be the 
forfeit.' 

' The boy had need of all his courage to listen silently 
to the king's words. He had no idea where the golden 
hen might be, or even, if he discovered that, how he was 
to get to her. But there was nothing for it but to do the 
king's bidding, and he felt that the sooner he left the 
palace the better. So he went home and put some food 
into a bag, and then set forth, hoping that some accident 
might show him which path to take. 

After walking for several hours he met a fox, who 
seemed inclined to be friendly, and the boy was so glad to 
have anyone to talk to that he sat down and entered into 
conversation. 

I Where are you going ? ' asked the fox. 

I I have got to find a golden hen who has lost a feather 
out of her tail,' answered the boy ; ' but I don't know 
where she lives or how I shall catch her ! ' 

' Oh, I can show you the way ! ' said the fox, who was 
really very good-natured. ' Far towards the east, in that 
direction, lives a beautiful maiden who is called "The 
Sister of the Sun." She has three golden hens in her 
house. Perhaps the feather belongs to one of them.' 

The boy was delighted at this news, and they walked 
on all day together, the fox in front, and the boy behind. 
When evening came they lay down to sleep, and put the 
knapsack under their heads for a pillow. 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 111 

Suddenly, about midnight, the fox gave a low whine, 
and drew nearer to his bedfellow. ' Cousin/ he whispered 
very low, ' there is someone coming who will take the 
knapsack away from me. Look over there ! ' And the 
boy, peeping through the bushes, saw a man. 

' Oh, I don't think he will rob us ! ' said the boy ; and 
when the man drew near, he told them his story, which 
so much interested the stranger that he asked leave to 
travel with them, as he might be of some use. So when 
the sun rose they set out again, the fox in front as before, 
the man and boy following. 

After some hours they reached the castle of the Sister 
of the Sun, who kept the golden hens among her treasures. 
They halted before the gate and took counsel as to which 
of them should go in and see the lady herself. 

'I think it would be best for me to enter and steal the 
hens/ said the fox ; but this did not please the boy at all. 

'No, it is my business, so it is right that I should go/ 
answered he. 

' You will find it a very difficult matter to get hold of 
the hens/ replied the fox. 

' Oh, nothing is likely to happen to me/ returned the 
boy. 

' Well, go then/ said the fox, ' but be careful not to 
make any mistake. Steal only the hen which has the 
feather missing from her tail, and leave the others alone.' 

The man listened, but did not interfere, and the boy 
entered the court of the palace. 

He soon spied the three hens strutting proudly about, 
though they were really anxiously wondering if there 
were not some grains lying on the ground that they might 
be glad to eat. And as the last one passed by him, he 
saw she had one feather missing from her tail. 

At this sight the youth darted forward and seized the 
hen by the neck so that she could not struggle. Then, 
tucking her comfortably under his arm, he made straight 
for the gate. Unluckily, just as he was about to go 



218 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

through it he looked back and caught a glimpse of 
wonderful splendours from an open door of the palace. 
' After all, there is no hurry/ he said to himself ; 1 1 may 
as well see something now I am here/ and turned back, 
forgetting all about the hen, which escaped from under 
his arm, and ran to join her sisters. 

He was so much fascinated by the sight of all the 
beautiful things which peeped through the door that he 
scarcely noticed that he had lost the prize he had won ; 
and he did not remember there was such a thing as a hen 
in the world when he beheld the Sister of the Sun sleeping 
on a bed before him. 

For some time he stood staring ; then he came to 
himself with a start, and feeling that he had no business 
there, softly stole away, and was fortunate enough to 
recapture the hen, which he took with him to the gate. 
On the threshold he stopped again. ' Why should I not 
look at the Sister of the Sun ?' he thought to himself; 
' she is asleep, and will never know.' And he turned back 
for the second time and entered the chamber, while the 
hen wriggled herself free as before. When he had gazed 
his fill he went out into the courtyard and picked up his 
hen, who was seeking for corn. 

As he drew near the gate he paused. l Why did I not 
give her a kiss ? ? he said to himself ; 1 1 shall never 
kiss any woman so beautiful.' And he wrung his hands 
with regret, so that the hen fell to the ground and ran 
away. 

' But I can do it still ! ' he cried with delight, and he 
rushed back to the chamber and kissed the sleeping 
maiden on the forehead. But, alas ! when he came out 
again he found that the hen had grown so shy that she 
would not let him come near her. And, worse than that, 
her sisters began to cluck so loud that the Sister of the 
Sun was awakened by the noise. She jumped up in haste 
from her bed, and going to the door she said to the boy : 

1 You shall never, never, have my hen till you bring 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 221 

ine back my sister who was carried off by a giant to his 
castle, which is a long way off.' 

Slowly and sadly the youth left the palace and told 
his story to his friends, who were waiting outside the gate, 
how he had actually held the hen three times in his arms 
and had lost her. 

' I knew that we should not get off so easily,' said the 
fox, shaking his head ; ' but there is no more time to waste. 
Let us set off at once in search of the sister. Luckily, I 
know the way.' 

They walked on for many days, till at length the fox, 
who, as usual, was going first, stopped suddenly. 

1 The giant's castle is not far now,' he said, ' but when 
we reach it you two must remain outside while I go and 
fetch the princess. Directly I bring her out you must 
both catch hold of her tight, and get away as fast as you 
can ; while I return to the castle and talk to the giants — 
for there are many of them — so that they may not notice 
the escape of the princess.' 

A few minutes later they arrived at the castle, and the 
fox, who had often been there before, slipped in without 
difficulty. There were several giants, both young and 
old, in the hall, and they were all dancing round the 
princess. As soon as they saw the fox they cried out: 
' Come and dance too, old fox ; it is a long time since we 
have seen you.' 

So the fox stood up, and did his steps with the best of 
them ; but after a while he stopped and said : 

'I know a charming new dance that I should like to 
show you ; but it can only be done by two people. If the 
princess will honour me for a few minutes, you will soon 
see how it is done.' 

i Ah, that is delightful ; we want something new,' 
answered they, and placed the princess between the out- 
stretched arms of the fox. In one instant he had knocked 
over the great stand of lights that lighted the hall, and 
in the darkness had borne the princess to the gate. His 



222 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

comrades seized hold of her, as they had been bidden, 
and the fox was back again in the hall before anyone 
had missed him. He found the giants busy trying to 
kindle a fire and get some light ; but after a bit someone 
cried out : 

' Where is the princess ? ' 

' Here, in my arms,' replied the fox. < Don't be afraid ; 
she is quite safe.' And he waited until he thought that his 
comrades had gained a good start, and put at least five or 
six mountains between themselves and the giants. Then 
he sprang through the door, calling, as he went: 'The 
maiden is here ; take her if you can ! ' 

At these words the giants understood that their prize had 
escaped, and they ran after the fox as fast as their great 
legs could carry them, thinking that they should soon 
come up with the fox, who they supposed had the 
princess on his back. The fox, on his side, was far too 
clever to choose the same path that his friends had 
taken, but wound in and out of the forest, till at last 
even he was tired out, and fell fast asleep under a tree. 
Indeed, he was so exhausted with his day's work that he 
never heard the approach of the giants, and their hands 
were already stretched out to seize his tail when his eyes 
opened, and with a tremendous bound he was once more 
beyond their reach. All the rest of the night the fox ran 
and ran; but when bright red spread over the east, he 
stopped and waited till the giants were close upon him. 
Then he turned, and said quietly: 'Look, there is the 
Sister of the Sun ! ' 

The giants raised their eyes all at once, and were 
instantly turned into pillars of stone. The fox then made 
each pillar a low bow, and set off to join his friends. 

He knew a great many short cuts across the hills, so 
it was not long before he came up with them, and all four 
travelled night and day till they reached the castle of 
the Sister of the Sun. What joy and feasting there was 
throughout the palace at the sight of the princess whom 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 223 

they had mourned as dead ! and they could not make 
enough of the boy who had gone through such dangers 
in order to rescue her. The golden hen was given to him 
at once, and, more than that, the Sister of the Sun told him 
that, in a little time, when he was a few years older, she 
would herself pay a visit to his home and become his 
wife. The boy could hardly believe his ears when he 
heard what was in store for him, for this was the most 
beautiful princess in all the world ; and however thick the 
darkness might be, it fled away at once from the light of 
a star on her forehead. 

So the boy set forth on his journey home, with his 
friends for company ; his heart full of gladness when he 
thought of the promise of the princess. But, one by one, 
his comrades dropped off at the places where they had 
first met him, and he was quite alone when he reached 
his native town and the gates of the palace. With the 
golden hen under his arm he presented himself before the 
king, and told his adventures, and how he was going to 
have for a wife a princess so wonderful and unlike all other 
princesses, that the star on her forehead could turn night 
into day. The king listened silently, and when the boy 
had done, he said quietly : ' If I find that your story is not 
true I will have you thrown into a cask of pitch/ 

1 It is true — every word of it/ answered the boy ; and 
went on to tell that the day and even the hour were 
fixed when his bride was to come and seek him. 

But as the time drew near, and nothing was heard 
of the princess, the youth became anxious and uneasy, 
especially when it came to his ears that the great cask 
was being filled with pitch, and that sticks were laid 
underneath to make a fire to boil it with. All day long 
the boy stood at the window, looking over the sea by which 
the princess must travel ; but there were no signs of her, 
not even the tiniest white sail. And, as he stood, soldiers 
came and laid hands on him, and led him up to the cask, 
where a big fire was blazing, and the horrid black pitch 



224 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

boiling and bubbling over the sides. He looked and 
shuddered, but there was no escape ; so he shut his eyes to 
avoid seeing. 

The word was given for him to mount the steps which 
led to the top of the cask, when, suddenly, some men were 
seen running with all their might, crying as they went that 
a large ship with its sails spread was making straight for 
the city. No one knew what the ship was, or whence it 
came ; but the king declared that he would not have the 
boy burned before its arrival, there would always be time 
enough for that. 

At length the vessel was safe in port, and a whisper 
went through the watching crowd that on board was the 
Sister of the Sun, who had come to marry the young 
peasant, as she had promised. . In a few moments more 
she had landed, and desired to be shown the way to the 
cottage which her bridegroom had so often described to her ; 
and whither he had been led back by the king's order at 
the first sign of the ship. 

' Don't you know me ? ' asked the Sister of the Sun, 
bending over him where he lay, almost driven out of his 
senses with terror. 

f £To, no; I don't know you/ answered the youth, 
without raising his eyes. 

' Kiss me/ said the Sister of the Sun ; and the youth 
obeyed her, but still without looking up. 

' Don't you know me now ? ' asked she. 

' No, I don't know you — I don't know you/ he replied, 
with the manner of a man whom fear had driven mad. 

At this the Sister of the Sun grew rather frightened, 
and beginning at the beginning, she told him the story of 
his meeting with her, and how she had come a long way 
in order to marry him. And just as she had finished in 
walked the king, to see if what the boy had said was really 
true. But hardly had he opened the door of the cottage 
when he was almost blinded by the light that filled it; and 
he remembered what he had been told about the star on 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 



225 



the forehead of the princess. He staggered back as if he 
had been struck, then a curious feeling took hold of 
him, which he had never felt before, and falling on his 
knees before the Sister of the Sun he implored her to 
give up all thought of the peasant boy, and to share his 







throne. But she only laughed, and said she had a finer 
throne of her own, if she wanted to sit on it, and that she 
was free to please herself, and would have no husband 
but the boy whom she would never have seen except for 
the king himself. 

BR. Q 



226 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

1 1 shall marry him to-morrow/ ended she ; and ordered 
the preparations to be set on foot at once. 

When the next day came, however, the bridegroom's 
father informed the princess that, by the law of the land, 
the marriage must take place in the presence of the king; 
but he hoped his majesty would not long delay his arrival. 
An hour or two passed, and everyone was waiting and 
watching, when at last the sound of trumpets was heard 
and a grand procession was seen marching up the street. 
A chair covered with velvet had been made ready for the 
king, and he took his seat upon it, and, looking round 
upon the assembled company, he said : 

' I have no wish to forbid this marriage ; but, before I 
can allow it to be celebrated, the bridegroom must prove 
himself worthy of such a bride by fulfilling three tasks. 
And the first is that in a single day he must cut down 
every tree in an entire forest.' 

The youth stood aghast at the king's words. He had 
never cut down a tree in his life, and had not the least 

idea how to begin. And as for a whole forest ! But 

the princess saw what was passing in his mind, and 
whispered to him: 

' Don't be afraid. In my ship you will find an axe, 
which you must carry off to the forest. When you have 
cut down one tree with it just say: " So let the forest fall," 
and in an instant all the trees will be on the ground. 
But pick up three chips of the tree you have felled, and 
put them in your pocket.' 

And the young man did exactly as he was bid, and 
soon returned with the three chips safe in his coat. 

The following morning the princess declared that she 
had been thinking about the matter, and that, as she was 
not a subject of the king, she saw no reason why she 
should be bound by his laws ; and she meant to be married 
that very day. But the bridegroom's father told her that 
it was all very well for her to talk like that, but it was quite 
different for his son, who would pay with his head for 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 227 

any disobedience to the king's commands. However, in 
consideration of what the youth had done the day before, 
he hoped his majesty's heart might be softened, especially 
as he had sent a message that they might expect him at 
once. With this the bridal pair had to be content, and 
be as patient as they could till the king's arrival. 

He did not keep them long, but they saw by his face 
that nothing good awaited them. 

' The marriage cannot take place,' he said shortly, ' till 
the youth has joined to their roots all the trees he cut 
down yesterday.' 

This sounded much more difficult than what he had 
done before, and he turned in despair to the Sister of the 
Sun. 

' It is all right,' she whispered encouragingly. < Take 
this water and sprinkle it on one of the fallen trees, and 
say to it : " So let all the trees of the forest stand upright," 
and in a moment they will be erect again.' 

And the young man did what he was told, and left 
the forest looking exactly as it had done before. 

Now, surely, thought the princess, there was no longer 
any need to put off the wedding ; and she gave orders that 
all should be ready for the following day. But again the 
old man interfered, and declared that without the king's 
permission no marriage could take place. For the third 
time his majesty was sent for, and for the third time he 
proclaimed that he could not give his consent until the 
bridegroom should have slain a serpent which dwelt in a 
broad river that flowed at the back of the castle. Every- 
one knew stories of this terrible serpent, though no one 
had actually seen it ; but from time to time a child strayed 
from home and never came back, and then mothers would 
forbid the other children to go near the river, which had 
juicy fruits and lovely flowers growing along its banks. 

So no wonder the youth trembled and turned pale 
when he heard what lay before him. 

1 You will succeed in this also,' whispered the Sister of 

Q2 



22S THE SISTER OF THE SU2? 

the Sun, pressing his hand, ( for in my ship is a magic sword 
which will cut through everything. Go down to the river 
and unfasten a boat which lies moored there, and throw 
the chips into the water. When the serpent rears up its 
body you will cut off its three heads with one blow of your 
sword. Then take the tip of each tongue and go with it 
to-morrow morning into the king's kitchen. If the king 
himself should enter, just say to him : "Here are three 
gifts I offer you in return for the services you demanded 
of me ! " and throw the tips of the serpent's tongues at 
him, and hasten to the ship as fast as your legs will carry 
you. But be sure you take great care never to look 
behind you.' 

The young man did exactly what the princess had 
told him. The three chips which he flung into the river 
became a boat, and, as he steered across the stream, the 
serpent put up its head and hissed loudly. The youth 
had his sword ready, and in another second the three 
heads were bobbing on the water. Guiding his boat till 
he was beside them, he stooped down and snipped off 
the ends of the tongues, and then rowed back to the 
other bank. Next morning he carried them into the 
royal kitchen, and when the king entered, as was his 
custom, to see what he was going to have for dinner, the 
bridegroom flung them in his face, saying: 'Here is a 
gift for you in return for the services you asked of me. 5 
And, opening the kitchen door, he fled to the ship. 
Unluckily he missed the way, and in his excitement ran 
backwards and forwards, without knowing whither he 
was going. At last, in despair, he looked round, and saw 
to his amazement that both the city and palace had 
vanished completely. Then he turned his eyes in the 
other direction and, far, far away, he caught sight of the 
ship with her sails spread, and a fair wind behind her. 

This dreadful spectacle seemed to take away his 
senses, and all day long he wandered about, without 
knowing where he was going, till, in the evening, he 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 229 

noticed some smoke from a little hut of turf near by. 
He went straight up to it and cried : ' mother, let me 
come in for pity's sake ! ' The old woman who lived in 
the hut beckoned to him to enter, and hardly was he 
inside when he cried again : ' mother, can you tell me 
anything of the Sister of the Sun ? ' 

But the old woman only shook her head. 'No, I 
know nothing of her/ said she. 

The young man turned to leave the hut, but the old 
woman stopped him, and, giving him a letter, begged him 
to carry it to her next eldest sister, saying : ' If you should 
get tired on the way, take out the letter and rustle the 
paper/ 

This advice surprised the young man a good deal, as he 
did not see how it could help him ; but he did not answer, 
and went down the road without knowing where he was 
going. At length he grew so tired he could walk no 
more; then he remembered what the old woman had 
said. After he had rustled the leaves only once all 
fatigue disappeared, and he strode gaily over the grass till 
he came to another little turf hut. 

' Let me in, I pray you, dear mother/ cried he. And 
the door opened in front of him. ' Your sister has sent 
you this letter/ he said, and added quickly : ' mother ! 
can you tell me anything of the Sister of the Sun ? ' 

'No, I know nothing of her/ answered she. But as 
he turned hopelessly away, she stopped him. 

< If you happen to pass my eldest sister's house, will 
you give her this letter ? ' said she. e And if you should 
get tired on the road, just take it out of your pocket 
and rustle the paper.' 

So the young man put the letter in his pocket, and 
walked all day over the hills till he reached a little turf 
hut, exactly like the other two. 

' Let me in, I pray you, dear mother/ cried he. And as 
he entered he added : ' Here is a letter from your sister, 
and — can you tell me anything of the Sister of the Sun ? ' 



230 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

i Yes, I can/ answered the old woman. ' She lives in 
the castle on the Banka. Her father lost a battle only a 
few days ago because you had stolen his sword from him, 
and the Sister of the Sun herself is almost dead of grief. 
But, when you see her, stick a pin into the palm of her 
hand, and suck the drops of blood that flow. Then she 
will grow calmer, and will know you again. Only, be- 
ware; for before you reach the castle on the Banka fear- 
ful things will happen.' 

He thanked the old woman with tears of gladness for 
the good news she had given him, and continued his 
journey. But he had not gone very far when, at a turn 
of the road, he met with two brothers, who were quarrelling 
over a piece of cloth. 

' My good men, what are you fighting about ? ' said he. 
' That cloth does not look worth much ! ' 

' Oh, it is ragged enough/ answered they, ' but it was 
left us by our father, and if any man wraps it round him 
no one can see him ; and we each want it for our own.' 

' Let me put it round me for a moment/ said the youth, 
' and then I will tell you whose it ought to be ! ' 

The brothers were pleased with this idea, and gave 
him the stuff; but the moment he had thrown it over 
his shoulder he disappeared as completely as if he had 
never been there at all. 

Meanwhile the young man walked briskly along, till 
he came up with two other men, who were disputing over 
a table-cloth. 

' What is the matter ? ' asked he, stopping in front of 
them. 

'If this cloth is spread on a table/ answered they, 
' the table is instantly covered with the most delicious 
food ; and we each want to have it.' 

'Let me try the table-cloth/ said the youth, 'and I 
will tell you whose it ought to be.' 

The two men were quite pleased with this idea, and 
handed him the cloth. He then hastily threw the first 



THE SISTER OF THE SUN 231 

piece of stuff round his shoulders and vanished from sight, 
leaving the two men grieving over their own folly. 

The young man had not walked far before he saw two 
more men standing by the road-side, both grasping the 
same stout staff, and sometimes one seemed on the point 
of getting it, and sometimes the other. 

1 What are you quarrelling about ? You could cut a 
dozen sticks from the wood each just as good as that ! ' 
said the young man. And as he spoke the fighters both 
stopped and looked at him. 

<Ah! you may think so/ said one, 'but a blow from 
one end of this stick will kill a man, while a touch from 
the other end will bring him back to life. You won't 
easily find another stick like that ! ' 

' No ; that is true/ answered the young man. ' Let 
me just look at it, and I will tell you whose it ought 
to be/ 

The men were pleased with the idea, and handed him 
the staff. 

( It is very curious, certainly/ said he ; ' but which end 
is it that restores people to life ? After all, anyone can 
be killed by a blow from a stick if it is only hard enough ! ' 
But when he was shown the end he threw the stuff over 
his shoulders and vanished. 

At last he saw another set of men, who were struggling 
for the possession of a pair of shoes. 

1 Why can't you leave that pair of old shoes alone ? " 
said he. ' Why, you could not walk a yard in them ! ' 

e Yes, they are old enough/ answered they ; ' but who- 
ever puts them on and wishes himself at a particular place, 
gets there without going.' 

' That sounds very clever/ said the youth. ' Let me 
try them, and then I shall be able to tell you whose they 
ought to be/ 

The idea pleased the men, and they handed him the 
shoes ;*but the moment they were on his feet he cried: 

' I wish to* be in the castle on the Banka ! ' And before 



232 THE SISTER OF THE SUN 

he knew it, he was there, and found the Sister of the Sun 
dying of grief. He knelt down by her side, and pulling 
out a pin he stuck it into the palm of her hand, so that 
a drop of blood gushed out. This he sucked, as he had 
been told to do oy the old woman, and immediately the 
princess came to herself, and flung her arms round his 
neck. Then she told him all her story, and what had 
happened since the ship had sailed away without him. 
'But the worst misfortune of all,' she added, 'was a 
battle which my father lost because you had vanished 
with his magic sword ; and out of his whole army hardly 
one man was left.' 

' Show me the battle-field/ said he. And she took him 
to a wild heath, where the dead were lying as they fell, 
waiting for burial. One by one he touched them with 
the end of his staff, till at length they all stood before 
him. Throughout the kingdom there was nothing but 
joy ; and this tim e the wedding was really celebrated. And 
the bridal pair lived happily in the castle on the Banka 
till they died. 

[Lappldndische Mdhrchtn.) 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 

Once upon a time a little boy was born to a king who 
ruled over a great country through which ran a wide 
river. The king was nearly beside himself with joy, for 
he had always longed for a son to inherit his crown, and 
he sent messages to beg all the most powerful fairies 
to come and see this wonderful baby. In an hour or 
two, so many were gathered round the cradle, that the 
child seemed in danger of being smothered ; but the king, 
who was watching the fairies eagerly, was disturbed to 
see them looking grave. l Is there anything the matter ? ' 
he asked anxiously. 

The fairies looked at him, and all shook their heads at 
once. 

1 He is a beautiful boy, and it is a great pity ; but what 
is to happen will happen/ said they. 'It is written in 
the books of fate that he must die, either by a crocodile, or 
a serpent, or by a dog. If we could save him we would ; 
but that is beyond our power.' 

And so saying they vanished. 

For a time the king stood where he was, horror- 
stricken at what he had heard ; but, being of a hopeful 
nature, he began at once to invent plans to save the prince 
from the dreadful doom that awaited him. He instantly 
sent for his master builder, and bade him construct a 
strong castle on the top of a mountain, which should be 
fitted with the most precious things from the king's own 
palace, and every kind of toy a child could wish to play 
with. And, besides, he gave the strictest orders that a 
guard should walk round the castle night and day. 

233 



234 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 

For four or five years the baby lived in the castle alone 
with his nurses, taking his airings on the broad terraces, 
which were surrounded by walls, with a moat beneath 
them, and only a drawbridge to connect them with the 
outer world. 

One day, when the prince was old enough to run quite 
fast by himself, he looked from the terrace across the 
moat, and saw a little soft fluffy ball of a dog jumping 
and playing on the other side. Now, of course, all dogs 
had been kept from him for fear that the fairies' prophecy 
should come true, and he had never even beheld one 
before. So he turned to the page who was walking 
behind him, and said : 

1 What is that funny little thing which is running so 
fast over there ? ' 

' That is a dog, prince/ answered the page. 

' Well, bring me one like it, and we will see which can 
run the faster.' And he watched the dog till it had 
disappeared round the corner. 

The page was much puzzled to know what to do. He 
had strict orders to refuse the prince nothing ; yet . 
he remembered the prophecy, and felt that this was a 
serious matter. At last he thought he had better tell the 
king the whole story, and let him decide the question. 

'Oh, get him a dog if he wants one/ said the king, 
' he will only cry his heart out if he does not have it.' So 
a puppy was found, exactly like the other ; they might 
have been twins, and perhaps they were. 

Years went by, and the boy and the dog played 
together till the boy grew tall and strong. The time 
came at last when he sent a message to his father, 
saying : 

1 Why do you keep me shut up here, doing nothing ? 
I know all about the prophecy that was made at my 
birth, but I would far rather be killed at once than live 
an idle, useless life here. So give me arms, and let me go, 
I pray you ; me and my dog too.' 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 235 

And again the king listened to his wishes, and he and 
his dog were carried in a ship to the other side of the 
river, which was so broad here it might almost have 
been the sea. A black horse was waiting for him, tied 
to a tree, and he mounted and rode away wherever 
his fancy took him, the dog always at his heels. Never 
was any prince so happy as he, and he rode and rode 
till at length he came to a king's palace. 

The king who lived in it did not care about looking 
after his country, and seeing that his people lived cheerful 
and contented lives. He spent his whole time in making 
riddles, and inventing plans which he had much better 
have let alone. At the period when the young prince 
reached the kingdom he had just completed a wonderful 
house for his only child, a daughter. It had seventy 
windows, each seventy feet from the ground, and he had 
sent the royal herald round the borders of the neighbour- 
ing kingdoms to proclaim that whoever could climb up 
the walls to the window of the princess should win her 
for his wife. 

The fame of the princess's beauty had spread far and 
wide, and there was no lack of princes who wished to try 
their fortune. Very funny the palace must have looked 
each morning, with the dabs of different colour on the 
white marble as the princes were climbing up the walls. 
But though some managed to get further than others, 
nobody was anywhere near the top. 

They had already been spending several days in this 
manner when the young prince arrived, and as he was 
pleasant to look upon, and civil to talk to, they welcomed 
him to the house which had been given to them, and saw 
that his bath was properly perfumed after his long 
journey. 'Where do you come from ? ' they said at last. 
' And whose son are you ? ' 

But the young prince had reasons for keeping his own 
secret, and he answered : 

1 My father was master of the horse to the king of my 



236 THE PRINGE AND THE THREE FATES 

country, and after my mother died lie married another 
wife. At first all went well, but as soon as she had 
babies of her own she hated me, and I fled, lest she 
should do me harm.' 

The hearts of the other young men were touched as 
soon as they heard this story, and they did everything 
they could think of to make him forget his past sorrows. 

'What are you doing here?' said the youth, one 
day. 

1 We spend our whole time climbing up the walls of 
the palace, trying to reach the windows of the princess/ 
answered the young men; 'but, as yet, no one has reached 
within ten feet of them.' 

' Oh, let me try too/ cried the prince ; ' but to-morrow 
I will wait and see what you do before I begin/ 

So the next day he stood where he could watch the 
young men go up, and he Jioted the places on the wall 
that seemed most difficult, and made up his mind that 
when his turn came he would go up some other way. 

Day after day he was to be seen watching the wooers, 
till, one morning, he felt that he knew the plan of the 
walls by heart, and took his place by the side of the 
others. Thanks to what he had learned from the failure 
of the rest, he managed to grasp one little rough projec- 
tion after another, till at last, to the envy of his friends, 
he stood on the sill of the princess's window. Looking 
up from below, they saw a white hand stretched forth to 
draw him in. 

Then one of the young men ran straight to the king's 
palace, and said : { The wall has been climbed, and the 
prize is won ! ' 

' By whom ? ' cried the king, starting up from his 
throne ; ( which of the princes may I claim as my son-in- 
law ? ' 

' The youth who succeeded in climbing to the princess's 
window is not a prince at all/ answered the young man. 
'He is the son of the master of the horse to the great 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 237 

king who dwells across the river, and he fled from his 
own country to escape from the hatred of his stepmother.' 

At this news the king was very angry, for it had 
never entered his head that anyone but a prince would 
seek to woo his daughter. 

'Let him go back to the land whence he came/ he 
shouted in wrath ; ' does he expect me to give my daughter 
to an exile ? ' And he began to smash the drinking vessels 
in his fury ; indeed, he quite frightened the young man, 
who ran hastily home to his friends, and told the youth 
what the king had said. 

Now the princess, who was leaning from her window, 
heard his words and bade the messenger go back to the 
king her father and tell him that she had sworn a vow 
never to eat or drink again if the youth was taken from 
her. The king was more angry than ever when he 
received this message, and ordered his guards to go at 
once to the palace and put the successful wooer to death ; 
but the princess threw herself between him and his 
murderers. 

'Lay a finger on him, and I shall be dead before 
sunset,' said she; and as they saw that she meant it, they 
left the palace, and carried the tale to her father. 

By this time the king's anger was dying away, and he 
began to consider what his people would think of him 
if he broke the promise he had publicly given. So he 
ordered the princess to be brought before him, and the 
young man also, and when they entered the throne room 
he was so pleased with the noble air of the victor that 
his wrath quite melted away, and he ran to him and 
embraced him. 

' Tell me who you are ? ' he asked, when he had 
recovered himself a little, ' for I will never believe that 
you have not royal blood in your veins.' 

But the prince still had his reasons for being silent, 
and only told the same story. However, the king had 
taken such a fancy to the youth that he said no more, 



238 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 

and the marriage took place the following day, and great 
herds of cattle and a large estate were given to the young 
couple. 

After a little while the prince said to his wife: 'My 
life is in the hands of three creatures — a crocodile, a 
serpent, and a dog.' 

'Ah, how rash you are ! ; cried the princess, throwing 
her arms round his neck. f If you know that, how can 
you have that horrid beast about you ? I will give orders 
to have him killed at once.' 

But the prince would not listen to her. 

' Kill my dear little dog, who has been my playfellow 
since he was a puppy ? ' exclaimed he. t Oh, never would 
I allow that.' And all that the princess could get from 
him was that he would always wear a sword, and have 
somebody with him when he left the palace. 

When the prince and princess had been married a few 
months, the prince heard that his stepmother was dead, 
and his father was old and ill, and longing to have his 
eldest son by his side again. The young man could not 
remain deaf to such a message, and he took a tender 
farewell of his wife, and set out on his journey home. 
It was a long way, and he was forced to rest often on the 
road, and so it happened that, one night, when he was 
sleeping in a city on the banks of the great river, a huge 
crocodile came silently up and made its way along a 
passage to the prince's room. Fortunately one of his 
guards woke up as it was trying to steal past them, and 
shut the crocodile up in a large hall, where a giant 
watched over it, never leaving the spot except during the 
night, when the crocodile slept. And this went on for 
more than a month. 

Now, when the prince found that he was not likely to 
leave his father's kingdom again, he sent for his wife, and 
bade the messenger tell her that he would await her 
coming in the town on the banks of the great river. 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 239 

This was the reason why he delayed his journey so long, 
and narrowly escaped being eaten by the crocodile. 
During the weeks that followed the prince amused him- 
self as best he could, though he counted the minutes to 
the arrival of the princess, and when she did come, he at 
once prepared to start for the court. That very night, 
however, while he was asleep, the princess noticed some- 
thing strange in one of the corners of the room. It was 
a dark patch, and seemed, as she looked, to grow longer 
and longer, and to be moving slowly towards the cushions 
on which the prince was lying. She shrank in terror, but, 
slight as was the noise, the thing heard it, and raised its 
head to listen. Then she saw it was the long flat head 
of a serpent, and the recollection of the prophecy rushed 
into her mind. Without waking her husband, she glided 
out of bed, and taking up a heavy bowl of milk which 
stood on a table, laid it on the floor in the path of the 
serpent — for she knew that no serpent in the world can 
resist milk. She held her breath as the snake drew near, 
and watched it throw up its head again as if it was 
smelling something nice, while its forky tongue darted 
out greedily. At length its eyes fell upon the milk, and 
in an instant it was lapping it so fast that it was a 
wonder the creature did not choke, for it never took its 
head from the bowl as long as a drop was left in it. 
After that it dropped on the ground and slept hervily. 
This was what the princess had been waiting for. and, 
catching up her husband's sword, she severed the snake's 
head from its body. 

The morning after this adventure the prince and 
princess set out for the king's palace, but found, when 
they reached it, that he was already dead. They gave 
him a magnificent burial, and then the prince had to 
examine the new laws which had been made in his 
absence, and do a great deal of business besides, till he 
grew quite ill from fatigue, and was obliged to go away to 
one of his palaces on the banks of the river, in order to 



240 THE PR INGE AND THE THREE FATES 

rest. Here he soon got better, and began to bunt, and to 
shoot wild duck with his bow ; and wherever he went, 
his dog, now grown very old, went with him. 

One morning the prince and his dog were out as usual, 
and in chasing their game they drew near the bank of the 
river. The prince was running at full speed after his dog 
when he almost fell over something that looked like a log 
of wood, which was lying in his path. To his surprise a 
voice spoke to him, and he saw that the thing which he 
had taken for a branch was really a crocodile. 

1 You cannot escape from me/ it was saying, when he 
had gathered his senses again. 'I am your fate, and 
wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will always 
find me before you. There is only one means of shaking 
off my power. If you can dig a pit in the dry sand which 
will remain full of water, my spell will be broken. If 
not death will come to you speedily. I give you this one 
chance. Now go.' 

The young man walked sadly away, and when he 
reached the palace he shut himself into his room, and for 
the rest of the day refused to see anyone, not even his 
wife. At sunset, however, as no sound could be heard 
through the door, the princess grew quite frightened, and 
made such a noise that the prince was forced to draw 
back the bolt and let her come in. ' How pale you look/ 
she cried, ' has anything hurt you ? Tell me, I pray you, 
what is the matter, for perhaps I can help ! ' 

So the prince told her the whole story, and of the 
impossible task given him by the crocodile. 

' How can a sand hole remain full of water ? ' asked 
he. l Of course it will all run through. The crocodile 
called it a " chance " ; but he might as well have dragged 
me into the river at once. He said truly that I cannot 
escape him.' 

* Oh, if that is all/ cried the princess, ' I can set you 
free myself, for my fairy godmother taught me to know 
the use of plants, and in the desert not far from here there 




T^Rmcass* ana cna vancXKd. 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 241 

grows a little four-leaved herb which will keep the watei 
in the pit for a whole year. I will go in search of it at 
dawn, and you can begin to dig the hole as soon as you 
like.' 

To comfort her husband, the princess had spoken 
lightly and gaily ; but. she knew very well she had no light 
task before her. Still, she was full of courage and energy, 
and determined that, one way or another, her husband 
should be saved. 

It was still starlight when she left the palace on a 
snow-white donkey, and rode away from the river straight 
to the west. For some time she could see nothing before 
her but a flat waste of sand, which became hotter and 
hotter as the sun rose higher and higher. Then a dread- 
ful thirst seized her and the donkey, but there was no 
stream to quench it, and if there had been she would 
hardly have had time to stop, for she still had far to go, 
and must be back before evening, or else the crocodile 
might declare that the prince had not fulfilled his con- 
ditions. So she spoke cheering words to her donkey, who 
brayed in reply, and the two pushed steadily on. 

Oh ! how glad they both were when they caught sight 
of a tall rock in the distance. They forgot that they were 
thirsty, and that the sun was hot ; and the ground seemed 
to fly under their feet, till the donkey stopped of its own 
accord in the cool shadow. But though the donkey might 
rest the princess could not, for the plant, as she knew, grew 
on the very top of the rock, and a wide chasm ran round the 
foot of it. Luckily she had brought a rope with her, and 
making a noose at one end, she flung it across with all 
her might. The first time it slid back slowly into the 
ditch, and she had to draw it up, and throw it again, but 
at length the noose caught on something, the princess 
could not see what, and had to trust her whole weight to 
this little bridge, which might snap and let her fall deep 
down among the rocks. And in that case her death was 
as certain as that of the prince. 

BR. R 



242 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 

But nothing so dreadful happened. The princess got 
safely to the other side, and then came the worst part 
of her task. As fast as she put her foot on a ledge of the 
rock the stone broke away from under her, and left her in 
the same place as before. Meanwhile the hours were 
passing, and it was nearly noon. 

The heart of the poor princess was filled with despair, 
but she would not give up the struggle. She looked round 
till she saw a small stone above her which seemed rather 
stronger than the rest, and by only poising her foot 
lightly on those that lay between, she managed by a great 
effort to reach it. In this way, with torn and bleeding 
hands, she gained the top ; but here such a violent wind 
was blowing that she was almost blinded with dust, and 
was obliged to throw herself on the ground, and feel about 
after the precious herb. 

For a few terrible moments she thought that the rock 
was bare, and that her journey had been to no purpose. 
Feel where she would, there was nothing but grit and 
stones, when, suddenly, her fingers touched something soft 
in a crevice. It was a plant, that was clear ; but was it 
the right one ? See she could not, for the wind was 
blowing more fiercely than ever, so she lay where she 
was and counted the leaves. One, two, three — yes ! yes ! 
there were four ! And plucking a leaf she held it safe in 
her hand while she turned, almost stunned by the wind, 
to go down the rock. 

When once she was safely over the side all became 
still in a moment, and she slid down the rock so fast that 
it was only a wonder that she did not land in the chasm. 
However, by good luck, she stopped quite close to her 
rope bridge and was soon across it. The donkey brayed 
joyfully at the sight of her, and set off home at his best 
speed, never seeming to know that the earth under his 
feet was nearly as hot as the sun above him. 

On the bank of the great river he halted, and the 
princess rushed up to where the prince was standing by 



THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 243 

the pit he had digged in the dry sand, with a huge water 
pot beside it. A little way off the crocodile lay blinking 
in the sun, with his sharp teeth and whity-yellow jaws 
wide open. 




t^e^THE POOLINTHL<3ftND 



At a signal from the princess the prince poured the 
water in the hole, and the moment it reached the brim 
the princess flung in the four-leaved plant. Would the 



r2 



244 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES 

charm work, or would the water trickle away slowly- 
through the sand, and the prince fall a victim to that 
horrible monster ? For half an hour they stood with 
their eyes rooted to the spot, but the hole remained as 
full as at the beginning, with the little green leaf floating 
on the top. Then the prince turned with a shout of 
triumph, and the crocodile sulkily plunged into the river. 

The prince had escaped forever the second of his 
three fates ! 

He stood there looking after the crocodile, and rejoicing 
that he was free, when he was startled by a wild duck 
which flew past them, seeking shelter among the rushes that 
bordered the edge of the stream. In another instant his 
dog dashed by in hot pursuit, and knocked heavily against 
his master's legs. The prince staggered, lost his balance 
and fell backwards into the river, where the mud and the 
rushes caught him and held him fast; He shrieked for 
help to his wife, who came running ; and luckily brought 
her rope with her. The poor old dog was drowned, but 
the prince was pulled to shore. ' My wife/ he said, t has 
been stronger than my fate/ 

[Adapted from Les Contes Populaires de VEgypte Ancienne.] 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

Once upon a time a fox lay peeping out of his hole, 
watching the road that ran by at a little distance, and 
hoping to see something that might amuse him, for he 
was feeling very dull and rather cross. For a long while 
he watched in vain ; everything seemed asleep, and not 
even a bird stirred overhead. The fox grew crosser than 
ever, and he was just turning away in disgust from his 
place when he heard the sound of feet coming over the 
snow. He crouched eagerly down at the edge of the road 
and said to himself : ' I wonder what would happen if I 
were to pretend to be dead ! This is a man driving a 
reindeer sledge, I know the tinkling of the harness. And 
at any rate I shall have an adventure, and that is always 
something ! ' 

So he stretched himself out by the side of the road, 
carefully choosing a spot where the driver could not help 
seeing him, yet where the reindeer would not tread on 
him ; and all fell out just as he had expected. The 
sledge-driver pulled up sharply, as his eyes lighted on the 
beautiful animal lying stiffly beside him, and jumping out 
he threw the fox into the bottom of the sledge, where the 
goods he was carrying were bound tightly together by 
ropes. The fox did not move a muscle though his bones 
were sore from the fall, and the driver got back to his 
seat again and drove on merrily. 

But before they had gone very far, the fox, who was 
near the edge, contrived to slip over, and when the 
Laplander saw him stretched out on the snow he pulled 
up his reindeer and put the fox into one of the other 

245 



246 THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

sledges that was fastened behind, for it was market-day 
at the nearest town, and the man had much to sell. 

They drove on a little further, when some noise in the 
forest made the man turn his head, just in time to see the 
fox fall with a heavy thump on to the frozen snow. 
' That beast is bewitched ! ' he said to himself, and then 
he threw the fox into the last sledge of all, which had 
a cargo of fishes. This was exactly what the cunning 
creature wanted, and he wriggled gently to the front and 
bit the cord which tied the sledge to the one before it 
so that it remained standing in the middle of the road. 

Now there were so many sledges that the Lapp did 
not notice for a long while that one was missing ; indeed, 
he would have entered the town without knowing if snow 
had not suddenly begun to fall. Then he got down to 
secure more firmly the cloths that kept his goods dry, and 
going to the end of the long row, discovered that the 
sledge containing the fish and the fox was missing. He 
quickly unharnessed one of his reindeer and rode back 
along the way he had come, to find the sledge standing 
safe in the middle of the road ; but as the fox had bitten 
off the cord close to the noose there was no means of 
moving it away. 

The fox meanwhile was enjoying himself mightily. 
As soon as he had loosened the sledge, he had taken his 
favourite fish from among the piles neatly arranged for 
sale, and had trotted off to the forest with it in his mouth. 
By-and-by he met a bear, who stopped and said : ' Where 
did you find that fish, Mr. Fox ? > 

. l Oh, not far off/ answered he ; ' I just stuck my tail in 
the stream close by the place where the elves dwell, and 
the fish hung on to it of itself. 7 

' Dear me/ snarled the bear, who was hungry and not 
in a good temper, ' if the fish hung on to your tail, I 
suppose he will hang on to mine/ 

' Yes, certainly, grandfather/ replied the fox, ' if you 
have patience to suffer what I suffered.' 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 



247 



'Of course I can/ replied the bear, 'what nonsense 
you talk ! Show me the way.' 

So the fox led him to the bank of a stream, which, 
being in a warm place, had only lightly frozen in places, 
and was at this moment glittering in the spring sunshine. 

( The elves bathe here/ he said, ' and if you put in your 
tail the fish will catch hold of it. But it is no use being 
in a hurry, or you will spoil everything/ 




THE ELVES AND THE BE/TR^ 



Then he trotted off, but only went out of sight of the 
bear, who stood still on the bank with his tail deep in 
the water. Soon the sun set and it grew very cold and 
the ice formed rapidly, and the*bear's tail was fixed as tight 
as if a vice had held it ; and when the fox saw that every- 
thing had happened just as he had planned it, he called 
out loudly : 

'Be quick, good people, and come with your bows 
and spears. A bear has been fishing in your brook ! ' 



248 THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

And in a moment the whole place was full of little 
creatures each one with a tiny bow and a spear hardly 
big enough for a baby ; but both arrows and spears could 
sting, as the bear knew very well, and in his fright he 
gave such a tug to his tail that it broke short off, and he 
rolled away into the forest as fast as his legs could carry 
him. At this sight the fox held his sides for laughing, 
and then scampered away in another direction. By-and- 
by he came to a fir tree, and crept into a hole under the 
root. After that he did something very strange. 

Taking one of his hind feet between his two front" 
paws, he said softly : 

'What would you do, my foot, if someone was to 
betray me?' 

1 1 would run so quickly that he should not catch 

yc-u.' 

1 What would you do, mine ear, if someone was to 
betray me ? ' 

'I would listen so hard that I should hear all his 
plans.' 

* What would you do, my nose, if someone was to 
betray me ? ' 

' 1 would smell so sharply that I should know from 
afar that he was coming.' 

'What would you do, my tail, if someone was to 
betray me ? ' 

'I would steer you so straight a course that you 
would soon be beyond his reach. Let us be off ; I feel 
as if danger was near.' 

But the fox was comfortable where he was, and did 
not hurry himself to take his tail's advice. And before 
very long he found he was too late, for the bear had come 
round by another path, and guessing where his enemy 
was began to scratch at the roots of the tree. The fox 
made himself as small as he could, but a scrap of his tail 
peeped out, and the bear seized it and held it tight. 
Then the fox dug his claws into the ground, but he was 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 249 

not strong enough to pull against the bear, and slowly he 
was dragged forth and his body flung over the bear's 
heck. In this manner they set out down the road, the 
fox's tail being always in the bear's mouth. 

After they had gone some way, they passed a tree- 
stump, on which a bright coloured woodpecker was 
tapping. 

' Ah ! those were better times when I used to paint all 
the birds such gay colours/ sighed the fox. 

' What are you saying, old fellow ? ' asked the bear. 

'I? Oh, I was saying nothing/ answered the fox 
drearily. l Just carry me to your cave and eat me up as 
quick as you can.' 

The bear was silent, and thought of his supper ; and 
the two continued their journey till they reached another 
tree with a woodpecker tapping on it. 

' Ah ! those were better times when I used to paint all 
the birds such gay colours/ said the fox again to himself. 

' Couldn't you paint me too ? ' asked the bear suddenly. 

But the fox shook his head ; for he was always acting, 
even if no one was there to see him do it. 

'You bear pain so badly/ he replied, in a thoughtful 
voice, 'and you are impatient besides, and could never 
put up with all that is necessary. Why, you would first 
have to dig a pit, and then twist ropes of willow, and 
drive in posts and fill the hole with pitch, and, last of all, 
set it on fire. Oh, no ; you would never be able to do all 
that.' 

'It does not matter a straw how hard the work is/ 
answered the bear eagerly, ' I will do it every bit.' And 
as he spoke he began tearing up the earth so fast that 
soon a deep pit was ready, deep enough to hold him. 

'That is all right/ said the fox at last, 'I see I was 
mistaken in you. Now sit here, and I will bind you.' 
So the bear sat down on the edge of the pit, and the fox 
sprang on his back, which he crossed with the willow 
ropes, and then set fire to the pitch. It burnt up in an 



250 THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

instant, and caught the bands of willow and the bear's 
rough hair ; but he did not stir, for he thought that the 
fox was rubbing the bright colours into his skin, and that 
he would soon be as beautiful as a whole meadow of 
flowers. But when the fire grew hotter still he moved 
uneasily from one foot to the other, saying, imploringly : 
i It is getting rather warm, old man/ But all the answer 
he got was : ' I thought you would never be able to suffer 
pain like those little birds.' 

The bear did not like being told that he was not as 
brave as a bird, so he set his teeth and resolved to endure 
anything sooner than speak again ; but by this time the 
last willow band had burned through, and with a push 
the fox sent his victim tumbling into the grass, and ran 
off to hide himself in the forest. After a while he stole 
cautiously and found, as he expected, nothing left but a 
few charred bones. These he picked up and put in a bag, 
which he slung over his back. 

By-and-by he met a Lapp driving his team of rein- 
deer along the road, and as he drew near, the fox rattled 
the bones gaily. 

' That sounds like silver or gold,' thought the man to 
himself. And he said politely to the fox : 

' Good-day, friend! What have you got in your bag 
that makes such a strange sound ? ' 

' All the wealth my father left me,' answered the fox. 
1 Do you feel inclined to bargain ? ' 

1 Well, I don't mind,' replied the Lapp, who was a 
prudent man, and did not wish the fox to think him too 
eager ; < but show me first what money you have got.' 

'Ah, but I can't do that,' answered the fox, 'my bag 
is sealed up. But if you will give me those three rein- 
deer, you shall take it as it is, with all its contents.' 

The Lapp did not quite like it, but the fox spoke with 
such an air that his doubts melted away. He nodded, 
and stretched out his hand ; the fox put the bag into it, 
and unharnessed the reindeer he had chosen. 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 251 

' Oh, I forgot ! ' he exclaimed, turning round, as he was 
about to drive them in the opposite direction, ' you must 
be sure not to open the bag until you have gone at least 
five miles, right on the other side of those hills out there. 
If you do, you will find that all the gold and silver has 
changed into a parcel of charred bones/ Then he 
whipped up his reindeer, and was soon out of sight. 

For some time the Lapp was satisfied with hearing 
the bones rattle, and thinking to himself what a good 
bargain he had made, and of all the things he would buy 
with the money. But, after a bit, this amusement ceased 
to content him, and besides, what was the use of planning 
when you did not know for certain how rich you were ? 
Perhaps there might be a great deal of silver and only a 
little gold in the bag ; or a great deal of gold, and only a 
little silver. Who could tell ? He would not, of course, 
take the money out to count it, for that might bring him 
bad luck. But there could be no harm in just one peep ! 
So he slowly broke the seal, and untied the strings, and, 
behold, a heap of burnt bones lay before him ! In a 
minute he knew he had been tricked, and flinging the bag 
to the ground in a rage, he ran after the fox as fast as his 
snow-shoes would carry him. 

Now the fox had guessed exactly what would happen, 
and was on the look out. Directly he saw the little 
speck coming towards him, he wished that the man's 
snow-shoes might break, and that very instant the Lapp's 
shoes snapped in two. The Lapp did not know that this 
was the fox's work, but he had to stop and fetch one of 
his other reindeer, which he mounted, and set off again in 
pursuit of his enemy. The fox soon heard him coming, 
and this time he wished that the reindeer might fall and 
break its leg. And so it did; and the man felt it was a 
hopeless chase, and that he was no match for the fox. 

So the fox drove on in peace till he reached the cave 
where all his stores were kept, and then he began to 
wonder whom he could get to help him kill his reindeer, 



252 THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

for though he could steal reindeer he was too small to 
kill them. < After all, it will be quite easy/ thought he, 
and he bade a squirrel, who was watching him on a tree 
close by, take a message to all the robber beasts of the 
forest, and in less than half an hour a great crashing of 
branches was heard, and bears, wolves, snakes, mice, 
frogs, and other creatures came pressing up to the cave. 

When they heard why they had been summoned, they 
declared themselves ready each one to do his part. The 
bear took his crossbow from his neck and shot the rein- 
deer in the chin ; and, from that day to this, every reindeer 
has a mark in that same spot, which is always known as 
the bear's arrow. The wolf shot him in the thigh, and 
the sign of his arrow still remains ; and so with the mouse 
and the viper and all the rest, even the frog ; and at the 
last the reindeer all died. And the fox did nothing, but 
looked on. 

i I really must go down to the brook and wash my- 
self,' said he (though he was perfectly clean), and he went 
under the bank and hid himself behind a stone. From 
there he set up the most frightful shrieks, so that the 
animals fled away in all directions. Only the mouse and 
the ermine remained where they were, for they thought 
that they were much too small to be noticed. 

The fox continued his shrieks till he felt sure that the 
animals must have got to a safe distance ; then he crawled 
out of his hiding-place and went to the bodies of the rein- 
deer, which he now had all to himself. He gathered a 
bundle of sticks for a fire, and was just preparing to cook 
a steak, when his enemy, the Lapp, came up, panting with 
haste and excitement. 

' What are you doing there ? ' cried he ; ' why did you 
palm off those bones on me ? And why, when you had 
got the reindeer, did you kill them ? ' 

' Dear brother,' answered the fox with a sob, ' do not 
blame me for this misfortune. It is my comrades who 
have slain them in spite of my prayers.' 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 253 

The man made no reply, for the white fur of the 
ermine, who was crouching with the mouse behind some 
stones, had just caught his eye. He hastily seized the 
iron hook which hung over the fire and flung it at the 
little creature ; but the ermine was too quick for him, and 
the hook only touched the top of its tail, and that has 
remained black to this day. As for the mouse, the Lapp 
threw a half -burnt stick after him, and though it was not 
hot euough to hurt him, his beautiful white skin was 
smeared all over with it, and all the washing in the world 
would not make him clean again. And the man would 
have been wiser if he had let the ermine and the mouse 
alone, for when he turned round again he found he was 
alone. 

Directly the fox noticed that his enemy's attention had 
wandered from himself he watched his chance, and stole 
softly away till he had reached a clump of thick bushes, 
when he ran as fast as he could, till he reached a river, 
where a man was mending his boat. 

1 Oh, I wish, I do wish, I had a boat to mend too ! ' he 
cried, sitting up on h-is hind-legs and looking into the 
man's face. 

' Stop your silly chatter ! ' answered the man crossly, 
' or I will give you a bath in the river.' 

' Oh, I wish, I do wish, I had a boat to mend,' cried 
the fox again, as if he had not heard. And the man grew 
angry and seized him by the tail, and threw him far out 
in the stream close to the edge of an island ; which was 
just what the fox wanted. He easily scrambled up, and, 
sitting on the top, he called: ' Hasten, hasten, fishes, 
and carry me to the other side ! ' And the fishes left the 
stones where they had been sleeping, and the pools where 
they had been feeding, and hurried to see who could get 
to the island first. 

' I have won,' shouted the pike. ' Jump on my back, 
dear fox, and you will find yourself in a trice on the 
opposite shore.' 



254 THE FOX AND THE LAPP 

' No, thank you/ answered the fox, ' your back is much 
too weak for me. I should break it.' 

'Try mine/ said the eel, who had wriggled to the 
front. 

'No, thank you/ replied the fox again, ' I should slip 
over your head and be drowned.' 

1 You won't slip on my back/ said the perch, coming 
forward. 

'No; but you are really too rough/ returned the 
fox. 

t Well, you can have no fault to find with me/ put in 
the trout. 

' Good gracious ! are you here ? ' exclaimed the fox. 
' But I'm afraid to trust myself to you either.' 

At this moment a fine salmon swam slowly up. 

' Ah, yes, you are the person I want/ said the fox ; 
'but come near, so that I may get on your back, without 
wetting my feet.' 

So the salmon swam close under the island, and when 
he was touching it the fox seized him in his claws and 
drew him out of the water, and put him on a spit, while 
he kindled a fire to cook him by. When everything was 
ready, and the water in the pot was getting hot, he popped 
him in, and waited till he thought the salmon was 
nearly boiled. But as he stooped down the water gave a 
sudden fizzle, and splashed into the fox's eyes, blinding 
him. He started backwards with a cry of pain, and sat 
still for some minutes, rocking himself to and fro. When 
he was a little better he rose and walked down a road 
till he met a grouse, who stopped and asked what was the 
matter. 

' Have you a pair of eyes anywhere about you ? ' asked 
the fox politely. 

' No, I am afraid I haven't/ answered the grouse, and 
passed on. 

A little while after the fox heard the buzzing of an 
early bee, whom a gleam of sun had tempted out. 



THE FOX AND THE LAPP 255 

'Do you happen to have an extra pair of eyes any- 
where ? ' asked the fox. 

( I am sorry to say I have only those I am using/ 
replied the bee. And the fox went on till he nearly fell 
over an asp who was gliding across the road. 

'I should be so glad if you would tell me where I 
could get a pair of eyes/ said the fox. <I suppose you 
don't happen to have any you could lend me ? ' 

1 Well, if you only want them for a short time, perhaps 
I could manage/ answered the asp; 'but I can't do with- 
out them for long.' 

' Oh, it is only for a very short time that I need them/ 
said the fox ; ; I have a pair of my own just behind that 
hill, and when I find them I will bring yours back to you. 
Perhaps you will keep these till then.' So he took the 
eyes out of his own head and popped them into the head 
of the asp, and put the asp's eyes in their place. As he 
was running off he cried over his shoulder : < As long as 
the world lasts the asp's eyes will go down in the heads 
of foxes from generation to generation.' 

And so it has been ; and if you look at the eyes of an 
asp you will see that they are all burnt; and though 
thousands of years have gone by since the fox was going 
about playing tricks upon everybody he met, the asp still 
bears the traces of the day when the sly creature cooked 
the salmon. 

ILappldndische Mdhrchen.] 



KISA THE CAT 

Once upon a time there lived a queen who had a beautiful 
cat, the colour of smoke, with china-blue eyes, which she 
was very fond of. The cat was constantly with her, and 
ran after her wherever she went, and even sat up proudly 
by her side when she drove out in her fine glass coach. 

1 Oh, pussy/ said the queen one day, ' you are happier 
than I am ! For you have a dear little kitten just like 
yourself, and I have nobody to play with but you.' 

'Don'r cry/ answered the cat, laying her paw on her 
mistress's arm. ' Crying never does any good.^ I will see 
what can be done/ 

The cat was as good as her word. As soon as she 
returned from her drive she trotted off to the forest to 
consult a fairy who dwelt there, and very soon after the 
queen had a little girl, who seemed made out of snow and 
sunbeams. The queen was delighted, and soon the baby 
began to take notice of the kitten as she jumped about 
the room, and would not go to sleep at all unless the 
kitten lay curled up beside her. 

Two or three months went by, and though the baby 
was still a baby, the kitten was fast becoming a cat, and 
one evening when, as usual, the nurse came to look for 
her, to put her in the baby's cot, she was nowhere to be 
found. What a hunt there was for that kitten, to be sure ! 
The servants, each anxious to find her, as the queen was 
certain to reward the lucky man, searched in the most 
impossible places. Boxes were opened that would hardly 
have held the kitten's paw; books were taken from book- 

256 



KISA THE CAT 257 

shelves, lest the kitten should have got behind them, 
drawers were pulled out, for perhaps the kitten might 
have got shut in. But it was all no use. The kitten had 
plainly run away, and nobody could tell if it would ever 
choose to come back. 

Years passed away, and one day, when the princess 
was playing ball in the garden, she happened to throw 
her ball farther than usual, and it fell into a clump of 
rose-bushes. The princess of course ran after it at once, 
|^ and she was stooping down to feel if it was hidden in the 
long grass, when she heard a voice calling her: l Ingibjorg! 
Ingibjorg ! ' it said, ' have you forgotten me? I am Kisa, 
your sister ! ' 

'But I never had a sister/ answered Ingibjorg, very 
much puzzled ; for she knew nothing of what had taken 
place so long ago. 

1 Don't you remember how I always slept in your cot 
beside you, and how you cried till I came? But girls 
have no memories at all ! Why, I could find my way 
straight up to that cot this moment, if I was once inside 
the palace/ 

' Why did you go away then ? ' asked the princess. But 
before Kisa could answer, Ingibj org's attendants arrived 
breathless on the scene, and were so horrified at the sight 
of a strange cat, that Kisa plunged into the bushes and 
went back to the forest. 

The princess was very much vexed with her ladies-in- 
waiting for frightening away her old playfellow^, and told 
the queen who came to her room every evening to bid her 
good-night. 

1 Yes, it is quite true what Kisa said/ answered the 
queen ; ' I should have liked to see her again. Perhaps, 
some day, she will return, and then you must bring her 
to me.' 

Next morning it was very hot, and the princess de- 
clared that she must go and play in the forest, where it 
was always cool, under the big shady trees. As usual, 

BR. S 



258 KISA THE CAT 

her attendants let her do anything she pleased, and, 
sitting down on a mossy bank where a little stream 
tinkled by, soon fell sound asleep. The princess saw with 
delight that they would pay no heed to her, and wandered 
on and on, expecting every moment to see some fairies 
dancing round a ring, or some little brown elves peeping 
at her from behind a tree. But, alas ! she met none of 
these ; instead, a horrible giant came out of his cave and 
ordered her to follow him. The princess felt much afraid, 
as he was so big and ugly, and began to be sorry that 
she had not stayed within reach of help; but as there 
was no use in disobeying the giant, she walked meekly 
behind. 

They went a long way, and Ingibjorg grew very tired, 
and at length began to cry. 

'I don't like girls who make horrid noises/ said the 

giant, turning roundel ' But if you want to cry, I will give 

; you something to cry for.^^And drawing an axe from his 

belt, he cut off both her feet, which he picked up and put 

in his pocket. Then he went away. 

Poor Ingibjorg lay on the grass in terrible pain^nd 
wondering if she should stay there till she died, as no one 
would know where to look for her. How long it was 
since she had set out in the morning she could not tell — 
it seemed years to her, of course ; but the sun was still 
high in the heavens when she heard the sound of wheels, 
and then, with a great effort, for her throat was parched 
with fright and pain, she gave a shout. 
jXH i I am coming ! ' was the answer ; and in another 
. moment a cart made its way through the trees, driven by 
Kisa, who used her tail as a whip to urge the horse to 
go faster. Directly Kisa saw Ingibjorg lying there, she 
jumped quickly down, and lifting the girl carefully in her 
two front paws, laid her upon some soft hay, and drove 
back to her own little hut. 

In the corner of the room was a pile of cushions, and 
these Kisa arranged as a bed. Ingibjorg, who by this 



KISA THE CAT 259 

time was nearly fainting from all she had gone through, 
drank greedily some milk, and then sank back on the 
cushions while Kisa fetched some dried herbs from a 
cupboard, soaked them in warm water and tied them on 
the bleeding legs. The pain vanished at once, and Ingi- 
bjorg looked up and smiled at Kisa. 

' You will go to sleep now/ said the cat, c and you will 
not mind if I leave you for a little while. I will lock the 
door, and no one can hurt you/ But before she had 
finished the princess was asleep. Then Kisa got into 
the cart, which was standing at the door, and catching up 
the reins, drove straight to the giant's cave. 
^ Leaving her cart behind some trees, Kisa crept gently 
up to the open door, and, crouching down, listened to 
what the giant was telling his wife, who was at supper 
with him. 

' The first day that I can spare I shall just go back 
and kill her/ he said ; i it would never do for people in 
the forest to know that a mere girl can defy me ! ' And 
he and his wife were so busy calling Ingibjorg all sorts 
of names for her bad behaviour, that they never noticed 
Kisa stealing into a dark corner, and upsetting a whole 
bag of salt into the great pot before the fire. 

1 Dear me, how thirsty I am ! ' cried the giant by-and- 

by. 

' So am 1/ answered his wife. 1 1 do wish I had not 
taken that last spoonful of broth ; I am sure something 
was wrong with it.' 
§k% ' If I don't get some water I shall die/ went on the 
giant And rushing out of the cave, followed by his 
wife, he ran down the path which led to the river. 
+ Then Kisa entered the hut, and lost no time in search- 
ing every hole till she came upon some grass, under which 
Ingibj org's feet were hidden, and putting them in her 
cart, drove back again to her own hut. 

Ingibjorg was thankful to see her, for she had lain, too 
frightened to sleep, trembling at every noise. 

82 



260 



KISA THE GAT 



'Oh, is it you?' she cried joyfully, as Kisa turned the 
key. And the cat came in, holding up the two neat little 
feet in their silver slippers. 

'In two minutes they shall be as tight as ever they 




KIS/t THE. CAT G/VRR1ES OFf ~"^ 
IN^TBiORPS TEE.T 
FROM. THE. GIANT'S C/\VE 

were ! ' said Kisa. And taking some strings of the magic 
grass which the giant had carelessly heaped on them, 
she bound the feet on to the legs above. 



KISA THE GAT 261 

' Of course you won't be able to walk for some time ; 
you must not expect that,' she continued. ' But if you 
are very good, perhaps, in about a week, I may carry you 
home again.' 

And so she did ; and when the cat drove the cart up 
to the palace gate, lashing the horse furiously with her 
tail, and the king and queen saw their lost daughter sit- 
ting beside her, they declared that no reward could be 
too great for the person who had brought her out of the 
giant's hands. 

'We will talk about that by-and-by,' said the cat, as 
she made her best bow, and turned her horse's head. 

The princess was very unhappy when Kisa left her 
without even bidding her farewell. She would neither 
eat nor drink, nor take any notice of all the beautiful 
dresses her parents bought for her. 

'She will die, unless we can make her laugh,' one 
whispered to the other. ' Is there anything in the world 
^ that we have left untried ? ' 

» 'Nothing, except marriage,' answered the king. And 
he invited all the handsomest young men he could think 
of to the palace, and bade the princess choose a husband 
from among them. 

It took her some time to decide which she admired 
the most, but at last she fixed upon a young prince, whose 
eyes were like the pools in the forest, and his hair of 
bright gold. The king and the queen were greatly pleased, 
as the young man was the son of a neighbouring king, 
and they gave orders that a splendid feast should be got 
ready. 

When the marriage was over, Kisa suddenly stood 
before them, and Ingibjorg rushed forward and clasped 
her in her arms. 

'I have come to claim my reward,' said the cat. 'Let 
me sleep for this night at the foot of your bed.' 

'Is that all ?' asked Ingibjorg, much disappointed. 

'It is enough,' answered the cat. And when the 



262 EISA THE CAT 

morning dawned, it was no cat that lay upon the bed, but 
a beautiful princess. 

' My mother and I were both enchanted by a spiteful 
fairy/ said she, ' and we could not free ourselves till we 
had done some kindly deed that had never been wrought 
before. My mother died without ever finding a chance 
of doing anything new, but I took advantage of the evil 
act of the giant to make you as whole as ever. 5 

Then they were all more delighted than before, and 
the princess lived in the court until she, too, married, 
and went away to govern one of her own. 

[Adapted from Neuislandischen Volksmdrchen.'] 



THE LION AND THE OAT 

Far away on the other side of the world there lived, long 
ago, a lion and his younger brother, the wild cat, who 
were so fond of each other that they shared the same hut. 
The lion was much the bigger and stronger of the two — 
indeed, he was much bigger and stronger than any of the 
beasts that dwelt in the forest ; and, besides, he could jump 
farther and run faster than all the rest. If strength and 
swiftness could gain him a dinner he was sure never to 
be without one, but when it came to cunning, both the 
grizzly bear and the serpent could get the better of him, 
and he was forced to call in the help of the wild cat. 

Now the young wild cat had a lovely golden ball, so 
beautiful that you could hardly look at it except through 
a piece of smoked glass, and he kept it hidden in the 
thick fur muff that went round his neck. A very large 
old animal, since dead, had given it to him when he was 
hardly more than a baby, and had told him never to part 
with it, for as long as he kept it no harm could ever come 
near him. 

In general the wild cat did not need to use his ball, 
for the lion was fond of hunting, and could kill all the 
food that they needed ; but now and then his life would 
have been in danger had it not been for the golden ball. 

One day the two brothers started to hunt at daybreak, 
but as the cat could not run nearly as fast as the lion, he 
had quite a long start. At least he thought it was a long 

263 



264 THE LION AND THE CAT 

one, but in a very few bounds and springs the lion reached 
his side. 

1 There is a bear sitting on that tree/ he whispered 
softly. ' He is only waiting for us to pass, to drop down 
on my back/ 

' Ah, you are so big that he does not see I am behind 
you/ answered the wild cat. And, touching the ball, he 
just said : ' Bear, die ! ' And the bear tumbled dead out of 
the tree, and rolled over just in front of them. 

For some time they trotted on without any adventures, 
till just as they were about to cross a strip of long grass 
on the edge of the forest, the lion's quick ears detected a 
faint rustling noise. 

' That is a snake/ he cried, stopping short, for he was 
much more afraid of snakes than of bears. 

1 Oh, it is all right/ answered the cat. l Snake, die ! ' 
And the snake died, and the two brothers skinned it. 
They then folded the skin up into a very small parcel, 
and the cat tucked it into his mane, for snakes' skins can 
do all sorts of wonderful things, if you are lucky enough 
to have one of them. 

All this time they had had no dinner, for the snake's 
flesh was not nice, and the lion did not like eating bear — 
perhaps because he never felt sure that the bear was 
really dead, and would not jump up alive when his enemy 
went near him. Most people are afraid of some thing, and 
bears and serpents were the only creatures that caused 
the lion's heart to tremble. So the two brothers set off 
again and soon reached the side of a hill where some fine 
deer were grazing. 

'Kill one of those deer for your own dinner/ said the 
boy-brother, l but catch me another alive. I want him.' 

The lion at once sprang towards them with a loud 
roar, but the deer bounded away, and they were all three 
soon lost to sight. The cat waited for a long while, but 
finding that the lion did not return, went back to the 
house where they lived. 



THE LION AND THE CAT 265 

It was quite dark when the lion came home, where his 
brother was sitting curled up in one corner. 

' Did you catch the deer for me ? ' asked the boy-brother, 
springing up. 

' Well, no/ replied the man-brother. l The fact is, that 
I did not get up to them till we had run half way across 
the world and left the wind far behind us. Think what 
a trouble it would have been to drag it here! So — I 
just ate them both/ 

The cat said nothing, but he did not feel that he loved 
his big brother. He had thought a great deal about that 
deer, and had meant to get on his back to ride him as a 
horse, and go to see all the wonderful places the lion 
talked to him about when he was in a good temper. The 
more he thought of it the more sulky he grew, and in the 
morning, when the lion said that it was time for them to 
start to hunt, the cat told him that he might kill the bear 
and snake by himself, as he had a headache, and would 
rather stay at home. The little fellow knew quite well 
that the lion would not dare to go out without him and 
his ball for fear of meeting a bear or a snake. 

The quarrel went on, and for many days neither of the 
brothers spoke to each other, and what made them still 
more cross was, that they could get very little to eat, and 
we know that people are often cross when they are hun- 
gry. At last it occurred to the lion that if he could only 
steal the magic ball he could kill bears and snakes for 
himself, and then the cat might be as sulky as he liked 
for anything that it would matter. But how was the 
stealing to be done ? The cat had the ball hung round 
his neck day and night, and he was such a light sleeper 
that it was useless to think of taking it while he slept. 
No! the only thing was to get him to lend it of his own 
accord, and after some days the lion (who was not at 
all clever) hit upon a plan that he thought would do. 

' Dear me, how dull it is here ! ' said the lion one after- 
noon, when the rain was pouring down in such torrents 



266 THE LION AND THE CAT 

that, however sharp your eyes or your nose might be, 
you could not spy a single bird or beast among the 
bushes. ' Dear me, how dull, how dreadfully dull I am. 
Couldn't we have a game of catch with that golden ball 
of yours ? ' 

'I don't care about playing catch, it does not amuse 
me/ answered the cat, who was as cross as ever ; for no 
cat, even to this day, ever forgets an injury done to him. 

'Well, then, lend me the ball for a little, and I 
will play by myself/ replied the lion, stretching out a 
paw as he spoke. 

' You can't play in the rain, and if you did, you would 
only lose it in the bushes/ said the cat. 

' Oh, no, I won't ; I will play in here. Don't be so ill- 
natured.' And with a very bad grace the cat untied the 
string and threw the golden ball into the lion's lap, and 
composed himself to sleep again. 

For a long while the lion tossed it up and down gaily, 
feeling that, however sound asleep the boy-brother might 
look, he was sure to have one eye open ; but gradually he 
began to edge closer to the opening, and at last gave such 
a toss that the ball went up high into the air, and he 
could not see what became of it. 

' Oh, how stupid of me ! ' he cried, as the cat sprang 
up angrily, * let us go at once and search for it. It can't 
really have fallen very far.' But though they searched 
that day and the next, and the next after that, they never 
found it, because it never came down. 

After the loss of his ball the cat refused to live with 
the lion any longer, but wandered away to the north, 
always hoping he might meet with his ball again. But 
months passed, and years passed, and though he 
travelled over hundreds of miles, he never saw any 
traces of it. 

At length, when he was getting quite old, he came to 
a place unlike any that he had ever seen before, where a 



THE LION AND THE CAT 267 

big river rolled right to the foot of some high mountains. 
The ground all about the river bank was damp and 
marshy, and as no cat. likes to wet its feet, this one 
climbed a tree that rose high above the water, and thought 
sadly of his lost ball, which would have helped him out of 
this horrible place. Suddenly he saw a beautiful ball, for 
all the world like his own, dangling from a branch of the 
tree he was on. He longed to get at it ; but was the branch 
strong enough to bear his weight ? It was no use, after 
all he had done, getting drowned in the water. However, 
it could do no harm, if he was to go a little way ; he could 
always manage to get back somehow. 

So he stretched himself at full length upon the branch, 
and wriggled his body cautiously along. To his delight 
it seemed thick and stout. Another movement, and, by 
stretching out his paw, he would be able to draw the 
string towards him, when the branch gave a loud crack, 
and the cat made haste to wriggle himself back the way 
he had come. 

But when cats make up their minds to do anything 
they generally do it ; and this cat began to look about to 
see if there was really no way of getting at his ball. Yes ! 
there was, and it was much surer than the other, though 
rather more difficult. Above the bough where the ball 
hung was another bough much thicker, which he knew 
could not break with his weight ; and by holding on tight 
to this with all his four paws he could just manage to 
touch the ball with his tail. He would thus be able to 
whisk the ball to and fro till, by-and-by, the string 
would become quite loose, and it would fall to the ground. 
It might take some time, but the lion's little brother was 
patient, like most cats. 

Well, it all happened just as the cat intended it should, 
and when the ball dropped on the ground the cat ran 
down the tree like lightning, and, picking it up, tucked it 
away in the snake's skin round his neck. Then he began 
jumping along the shore of the Big Water from one place 



268 THE LION AND THE GAT 

to another, trying to find a boat, or even a log of wood, that 
would take him across. But there was nothing ; only, on 
the other side, he saw two girls cooking, and though he 
shouted to them at the top of his voice, they were too far 
off to hear what he said. And, what was worse, the ball 
suddenly fell out of its snake's skin bag right into the 
river. 

Now, it is not at all an uncommon thing for balls to 
tumble into rivers, but in that case they generally either 
fall to the bottom and stay there, or else bob about on the 
top of the water close to where they first touched it. But 
this ball, instead of doing either of these things, went 
straight across to the other side, and there one of the girls 
saw it when she stooped to dip some water into her pail. 

'Oh! what a lovely ball!' cried she, and tried to 
catch it in her pail ; but the ball always kept bobbing just 
out of her reach. 

' Come and help me ! ' she called to her sister, and 
after a long while they had the ball safe inside the pail. 
They were delighted with their new toy, and one or the 
other held it in her hand till bedtime came, and then it 
was a long time before they could make up their minds 
where it would be safest for the night. At last they 
locked it in a cupboard in one corner of their room, 
and as there was no hole anywhere the ball could not 
possibly get out. After that they went to sleep. 

In the morning the first thing they both did was to 
run to the cupboard and unlock it, but when the door 
opened they started back, for, instead of the ball, there 
stood a handsome young man. 

1 Ladies,' he said, 'how can I thank you for what 
you have done for me? Long, long ago, I was en- 
chanted by a wicked fairy, and condemned to keep the 
shape of a ball till I should meet with two maidens, who 
would take me to their own home. But where was I to 
meet them ? For hundreds of years I have lived in the 
depths of the forest, where nothing but wild beasts ever 



THE LION AND THE CAT 269 

came, and it was only when the lion threw me into the 
sky that I was able to fall to earth near this river. Where 
there is a river, sooner or later people will come; so, 
hanging myself on a tree, I watched and waited. For a 
moment I lost heart when I fell once more into the 
hands of my old master the wild cat, but my hopes rose 
again as I saw he was making for the river bank opposite 
where you were standing. That was my chance, and I 
took it. And now, ladies, I have only to say that, if ever I 
can do anything to help you, go to the top of that high 
mountain and knock three times at the iron door at the 
north side, and I will come to you/ 

So, with a low bow, he vanished from before them, 
leaving the maidens weeping at having lost in one 
moment both the ball and the prince. 

[Adapted from North American Indian Legends.] 



WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST? 

In a little village that stood on a wide plain, where you 
could see the sun from the moment he rose to the moment 
he set, there lived two couples side by side. The men, 
who worked under the same master, were quite good 
friends, but the wives were always quarrelling, and the 
subject they quarrelled most about was — which of the 
two had the stupidest husband. 

Unlike most women — who think that anything that 
belongs to them must be better than what belongs to any- 
one else — each thought her own husband the more foolish 
of the two. 

'You should just see what he does!' one said to her 
neighbour. C 'He puts on the baby's frock upside down, 
and, one day, I found him trying to feed her with boiling 
soup, and her mouth was scalded for days after. Then 
he picks up stones in the road and sows them instead of 
potatoes, and one day he wanted to go into the garden 
from the top window/because he declared it was a shorter 
way than through the door.' 

'That is bad enough, of course/ answered the other; 
' but it is really nothing to what I have to endure every 
day from my husband. If, when I am busy, I ask him 
to go and feed the poultry, he is certain to give them 
some poisonous stuff instead of their proper food, and 
when I visit the yard next I find them all dead. Once 
he even took my best bonnet, when I had gone away to 
my sick mother, and when I came back I found he had 
given it to the hen to lay her eggs in. And you know 

270 



WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST? 271 

yourself that, only last week, when I sent him to buy 
a cask of butter, he returned driving a hundred and fifty 
ducks which someone had induced him to take, and not 
one of them would lay.' 
<t l Yes, I am afraid he is trying/ replied the first ; ' but 
let us put them to the proof, and see which of them is 
the most foolish.' 

So, about the time that she expected her husband 
home from work, she got out her spinning-wheel, and sat 
busily turning it, taking care not even to look up from 
her work when the man came in. For some minutes he 
stood with his mouth open watching her, and as she still 
remained silent, he said at last : 

1 'Have you gone mad, wife, that you sit spinning 
without anything on the wheel ? ' 

' You may think that there is nothing on it/ answered 
she, ' but I can assure you that there is a large skein of 
wool, so fine that nobody can see it, which will be woven 
into a coat for you.' 

'Dear me!' he replied, 'what a clever wife I have 
got ! If you had not told me I should never have known 
that there was any wool on the wheel at all. But now 
I really do seem to see something.' 

The woman smiled and was silent, and after spinning 
busily for an hour more, she got up from her stool, and 
began to weave as fast as she could. At last she got up, 
and said to her husband: 'I am too tired to finish it 
' to-night, so I shall go to bed, and to-morrow I shall only 
have the cutting and stitching to do.' 

So the next morning she got up early, and after she 
had cleaned her house, and fed her chickens, and put 
everything in its place again, she bent over the kitchen 
table, and the sound of her big scissors might be heard 
snip! snap! as far as the garden. Her husband could 
not see anything to snip at ; but then he was so stupid 
that was not surprising ! 

After the cutting came the sewing. The woman 



272 WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST? 

patted and pinned and fixed and joined, and then, turning 
to the man, she said : 

'Now it is ready for you to try on.' And she 
made him take off his coat, and stand up in front of her, 
and once more she patted and pinned and fixed and joined, 
and was very careful in smoothing out every wrinkle. 

'It does not feel very warm, ; observed the man at 
last, when he had borne all this patiently for a long time. 

' That is because it is so fine/ answered she ; ' you do 
not want it to be as thick as the rough clothes you wear 
every day.' 

He did, but was ashamed to say so, and only answered : 
' Well, I am sure it must be beautiful since you say so, 
and I shall be smarter than anyone in the whole village. 
" What a splendid coat ! " they will exclaim when they 
see me. But it is not everybody who has a wife as 
clever as mine.' 

Meanwhile the other wife was not idle. As soon as 
her husband entered she looked at him with such a look 
of terror that the poor man was quite frightened. 
> ' Why do you stare at me so ? Is there anything the 
matter ? ' asked he. 

1 Oh ! go to bed at once/ she cried j { you must be very 
ill indeed to look like that ! ; 

The man was rather surprised at first, as he felt 
particularly well that evening; but the moment his wife 
spoke he became quite certain that he had something 
dreadful the matter with him, and grew quite pale. 

'I daresay it would be the best place for me/ he 
answered, trembling; and he suffered his wife to take 
him upstairs, and to help him off with his clothes. 

'If you sleep well during the night there may be a 
chance for you/ said she, shaking her head, as she tucked 

him up warmly ; ' but if not } And of course the 

poor man never closed an eye till the sun rose, 
e ' How do you feel this morning ? ' asked the woman, 
coming in on tip-toe when her house-work was finished. 



WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST ? 273 

' Oh, bad ; very bad indeed/ answered he ; ' 1 have not 
slept for a moment. Can you think of nothing to make 
me better ? ' 

1 1 will try everything that is possible/ said the wife, 
who did not in the least wish her husband to die, but was 
determined to show that he was more foolish than the 
other man. ' 1 will get some dried herbs and make you a 
drink, but I am very much afraid that it is too late. Why 
did you not tell me before ? ' 

1 1 thought perhaps the pain would go off in a day or 
two ^rand, besides, I did not want to make you unhappy/ 
answered the man, who was by this time quite sure he 
had been suffering tortures, and had borne them like a 
hero. ' Of course, if I had had any idea how ill I really 
was, I should have spoken at once.' 

1 "Well, well, I will see what can be done/ said the 
wife, ' but talking is not good for you. Lie still, and keep 
yourself warm.' 

All that day the man lay in bed, and whenever his 
wife entered the room and asked him, with a shake of the 
head, how he felt, he always replied that he was getting 
worse. At last, in the evening, she burst into tears, and 
when he inquired what was the matter, she sobbed out : 
^ ' Oh, my poor, poor husband, are you really dead ? I 
must go to-morrow and order your coffin.' 

Now, when the man heard this, a cold shiver ran 
through his body, and all at once he knew that he was as 
well as he had ever been in his life. 

1 Oh, no, no ! ' he cried, ' I feel quite recovered ! 
Indeed, I think I shall go out to work/ 

1 You will do no such thing/ replied his wife. ' Just 
keep quite quiet, for before the sun rises you will be a 
dead man.' 

The man was very frightened at her words, and lay 
absolutely still while the undertaker came and measured 
him for his coffin ; and his wife gave orders to the grave- 
digger about his grave. That evening the coffin was sent 

BR. T 



274 WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST? 

home, and in the morning at nine o'clock the woman put 
him on a long flannel garment, and called to the under- 
taker's men to fasten down the lid and carry him to the 
grave, where all their friends were waiting them. Just 
as the body was being placed in the ground the other 
woman's husband came running up, dressed, as far as any 
one could see, in no clothes at all. Everybody burst into 
shouts of laughter at the sight of him, and the men laid 
down the coffin and laughed too, till their sides nearly 
split. The dead man was so astonished at this behaviour, 
that he peeped out of a little window in the side of the 
coffin, and cried out : 

' I should laugh as loudly as any of you, if I were, not 
a dead man.' 

When they heard the voice coming from the coffin the 
other people suddenly stopped laughing, and stood as if 
they had been turned into stone. Then they rushed with 
one accord to the coffin, and lifted the lid so that the 
man could step out amongst them. 

' Were you really not dead after all ? ' asked they. 
1 And if not, why did you let yourself be buried ? ' 

At this the wives both confessed that they had each 
wished to prove that her husband was stupider than the 
other. But the villagers declared that they could not 
decide which was the most foolish — the man who allowed 
himself to be persuaded that he was wearing fine clothes 
when he was dressed in nothing, or the man who let him- 
self be buried when he was alive and well. 

So the women quarrelled just as much as they did 
before, and no one ever knew whose husband was the 
most foolish. 

[Adapted from the Neuisldndiache VolksmarcJien.] 



ASMUND AND SIGNY 

Long, long ago, in the days when fairies, witches, giants, 
and ogres still visited the earth, there lived a king who 
reigned over a great and beautiful country. He was 
married to a wife whom he dearly loved, and had two 
most promising children — a son called Asmund and a 
daughter who was named Signy. 

The king and queen were very anxious to bring their 
children up well, and the young prince and princess were 
taught everything likely to make them clever and accom- 
plished. They lived at home in their father's palace, and 
he spared no pains to make their lives happy. 

Prince Asmund dearly loved all outdoor sports and an 
open-air life, and from his earliest childhood he had 
longed to live entirely in the forest close by. After many 
arguments and entreaties he succeeded in persuading the 
king to give him two great oak trees for his very own. 

'Now,' said he to his sister, e I will have the trees 
hollowed out, and then I will make rooms in them and 
furnish them so that I shall be able to live out in the 
forest/ 

' Oh, Asmund ! ' exclaimed Signy, ' what a delightful 
idea ! Do let me come too, and live in one of your trees. 
I will bring all my pretty things and ornaments, and the 
trees are so near home we shall be quite safe in them.' 

Asmund, who was extremely fond of his sister, readily 
consented, and they had a very happy time together, 
carrying over all their pet treasures, and Signy 's jewels 

275 t2 



276 ASMUND AND SIGNY 

and other ornaments, and arranging them in the pretty 
little rooms inside the trees. 

Unfortunately sadder days were to come. A war with 
another country broke out, and the king had to lead 
his army against their enemy. During his absence the 
queen fell ill, and after lingering for some time she died, 
to the great grief of her children. They made up their 
minds to live altogether for a time in their trees, and for 
this purpose they had provisions enough stored up inside 
to last them a year. 

Now, I must tell you, in another country a long way 
off, there reigned a king who had an only son named. 
Ring. Prince Eing had heard so much about the beauty 
and goodness of Princess Signy that he determined to 
marry her if possible. So he begged his father to let 
him have a ship for the voyage, set sail with a favourable 
wind, and after a time landed in the country where Signy 
lived. 

The prince lost no time in setting' out for the royal 
palace, and on his way there he met such a wonderfully 
lovely woman that he felt he had never seen such beauty 
before in all his life. He stopped her and at once asked 
who she was. 

1 1 am Signy, the king's daughter/ was the reply. 

Then the prince inquired why she was wandering 
about all by herself, and she told him that since her 
mother's death she was so sad that whilst her father was 
away she preferred being alone. 

Ring was quite deceived by her, and never guessed 
that she was not Princess Signy at all, but a strong, 
gigantic, wicked witch bent on deceiving him under a 
beautiful shape. He confided to her that he had travelled 
all the way from his own country for her sake, having 
fallen in love with the accounts he had heard of her 
beauty, and he then and there asked her to be his wife. 

The witch listened to all he said and, much pleased, 
ended by accepting his offer; but she begged him to 



ASMUND AND SIGNY 277 

return to his ship for a little while as she wished to go 
some way further into the forest, promising to join him 
later on. 

Prince Ring did as she wished and went back to his 
ship to wait, whilst she walked on into the forest till she 
reached the two oak trees. 

Here she resumed her own gigantic shape, tore up the 
trees by their roots, threw one of them over her back and 
clasped the other to her breast, carried them down to the 
shore and waded out with them to the ship. 

She took care not to be noticed as she reached the 
ship, and directly she got on board she once more changed 
to her former lovely appearance and told the prince that 
her luggage was now all on board, and that they need 
wait for nothing more. 

The prince gave orders to set sail at once, and after a 
fine voyage landed in his own country, where his parents 
and his only sister received him with the greatest joy and 
affection. 

The false Signy was also very kindly welcomed. A 
beautiful house was got ready for her, and Prince Ring 
had the two oaks planted in the garden just in front of 
her windows so that she might have the pleasure of seeing 
them constantly. He often went to visit the witch, whom 
he believed to be Princess Signy, and one day he asked : 
' Don't you think we might be married before long ? ' 

'Yes,' said she, quite pleased, <I am quite ready to 
marry you whenever you like/ 

' Then/ replied Ring, < let us decide on this day fort- 
night. And see, I have brought you some stuff to make 
3 r our wedding-dress of.' So saying he gave her a large 
piece of the most beautiful brocade, all woven over with 
gold threads, and embroidered with pearls and other 
jewels. 

The prince had hardly left her before the witch 
resumed her proper shape and tore about the room, raging 
and storming and flinging the beautiful silk on the floor. 



278 ASMUND AND SIGNY 

' What was she to do with such things ? ' she roared. 
' She did not know how to sew or make clothes, and she 
was sure to die of starvation into the bargain if her 
brother Ironhead did not come soon and bring her some 
raw meat and bones, for she really could eat nothing 
else/ 

As she was raving and roaring in this frantic manner 
part of the floor suddenly opened and a huge giant rose 
up carrying a great chest in his arms. The witch was 
enchanted at this sight, and eagerly helped her brother to 
set down and open the chest, which was full of the ghastly 
food she had been longing for. The horrid pair set to 
and greedily devoured it all, and when the chest was 
quite empty the giant put it on his shoulder and dis- 
appeared as he had come, without leaving any trace of 
his visit. 

But his sister did not keep quiet for long, and tore and 
pulled at the rich brocade as if she wanted to destroy it, 
stamping about and shouting angrily. 

Now, all this time Prince Asmund and his sister sat 
in their trees just outside the window and saw all that 
was going on. 

'Dear Signy/ said Asmund, 'do try to get hold of 
that piece of brocade and make the clothes yourself, for 
really we shall have no rest day or night with such a 
noise/ 

'I will try/ said Signy; 'it won't be an easy matter, 
but it's worth while taking some trouble to have a little 
peace.' 

So she watched for an opportunity and managed to 
carry off the brocade the first time the witch left her 
room. Then she set to work, cutting out and sewing 
as best she could, and by the end of six days she had 
turned it into an elegant robe with a long train and 
a mantle. When it was finished she climbed to the top 
of her tree and contrived to throw the clothes on to a 
table through the open window. 







|) S1GNY AT THE. WINDOW 



ASMUND AND SIONY 281 

How delighted the witch was when she found the 
clothes all finished ! The next time Prince Ring came to 
see her she gave them to him, and he paid her many 
compliments on her skilful work, after which he took 
leave of her in the most friendly manner. But he had 
scarcely left the house when the witch began to rage as 
furiously as ever, and never stopped till her brother Iron- 
head appeared. 

When Asmund saw all these wild doings ,from his 
tree he felt he could no longer keep silence. He went to 
Prince King and said: 'Do come with me and see the 
strange things that are happening in the new princess's 
room/ 

The prince was not a little surprised, but he consented 
to hide himself with Asmund behind the panelling of the 
room, from where they could see all that went on through 
a little slit. The witch was raving and roaring as usual, 
and said to her brother : 

' Once I am married to the king's son I shall be better 
off than now. I shall take care to have all that pack of 
courtiers put to death, and then I shall send for all my 
relations to come and live here instead. I fancy the 
giants will enjoy themselves very much with me and my 
husband.' 

When Prince Ring heard this he fell into such a rage 
that he ordered the house to be set on fire, and it was 
burnt to the ground, with the witch and her brother 
in it. 

Asmund then told the prince about the two oak trees 
and took him to see them. The prince was quite as- 
tonished at them and at all their contents, but still more 
so at the extreme beauty of Signy. He fell in love with 
her at once, and entreated her to marry him, which, after 
a time, she consented to do. Asmund, on his side, asked 
for the hand of Prince Ring's sister, which was gladly 
granted him, and the double wedding was celebrated with 
great rejoicings. 



2S2 ASMUND AND SIQNY 

After this Prince Asmund and his bride returned to 
his country to live with the king his father. The two 
couples often met, and lived happily for many, many 
years. And that is the end of the story. 

[From Isldndische Mdhrchen.] 






RUBEZAHL 

Over all the vast under-world the mountain Gnome 
Rtibezahl was lord; and busy enough the care of his 
dominions kept him. There were the endless treasure 
chambers to be gone through, and the hosts of gnomes 
to be kept to their tasks. Some built strong barriers to 
hold back the fiery rivers in the earth's heart, and some 
had scalding vapours to change dull stones to precious 
metal, or were hard at work filling every cranny of the 
rocks with diamonds and rubies ; for Rtibezahl loved all 
pretty things. Sometimes the fancy would take him to 
leave those gloomy regions, and come out upon the green 
earth for a while, and bask in the sunshine and hear the 
birds sing. And as gnomes live many hundreds of years 
he saw strange things. For, the first time he came up, the 
great hills were covered with thick forests, in which wild 
animals roamed, and Rubezahl watched the fierce fights 
between bear and bison, or chased the grey wolves, or 
amused himself by rolling great rocks down into the 
desolate valleys, to hear the thunder of their fall echoing 
among the hills. But the next time he ventured above 
ground, what was his surprise to find everything changed! 
The dark woods were hewn down, and in their place 
appeared blossoming orchards surrounding cosy-looking 
thatched cottages ; from every chimney the blue smoke 
curled peacefully into the air, sheep and oxen fed in the 
flowery meadows, while from the shade of the hedges 
came the music of the shepherd's pipe. The strangeness 

283 



284 RUBEZAHL 

and pleasantness of the sight so delighted the gnome 
that he never thought of resenting the intrusion of these 
unexpected guests, who, without saying ' by your leave ' or 
1 with your leave/ had made themselves so very much at 
home upon his hills ; nor did he wish to interfere with 
their doings, but left them in quiet possession of their 
homes, as a good householder leaves in peace the 
swallows who have built their nests under his eaves. 
He was indeed greatly minded to make friends with this 
being called ' man/ so, taking the form of an old field 
labourer, he entered the service of a farmer. Under his 
care all the crops flourished exceedingly, but the master 
proved to be wasteful and ungrateful, and Bubezahl soon 
left him, and went to be shepherd to his next neighbour. 
He tended the flock so diligently, and knew so well where 
to lead the sheep to the sweetest pastures, and where 
among the hills to look for any who strayed away, that 
they too prospered under his care, and not one was lost 
or torn by wolves ; but this new master was a hard man, 
and begrudged him his well-earned wages. So he ran 
away and went to serve the judge. Here he upheld the 
law with might and main, and was a terror to thieves and 
evildoers ; but the judge was a bad man, who took bribes, 
and despised the law. Rubezahl would not be the tool 
of an unjust man, and so he told his master, who there- 
upon ordered him to be thrown into prison. Of course 
that did not trouble the gnome at all, he simply got out 
through the key-hole, and went away down to his under- 
ground palace, very much disappointed by his first 
experience of mankind. But, as time went on, he forgot 
the disagreeable things that had happened to him, and 
thought he would take another look at the upper world. 
So he stole into the valley, keeping himself carefully 
hidden in copse or hedgerow, and very soon met with 
an adventure; for, peeping through a screen of leaves, 
he saw before him a green lawn where stood a charming 
maiden, fresh as the spring, and beautiful to look upon. 



RUBEZAHL 287 

Around her upon the grass lay her young companions, as 
if they had thrown themselves down to rest after some 
merry game. Beyond them flowed a little brook, into 
which a waterfall leapt from a high rock, filling the air 
with its pleasant sound, and making a coolness even in 
the sultry noontide. The sight of the maiden so pleased 
the gnome that, for the first time, he wished himself a 
mortal ; and, longing for a better view of the gay company, 
he changed himself into a raven and perched upon an oak- 
tree which overhung the brook. But he soon found that 
this was not at all" a good plan. He could only see with 
a raven's eyes, and feel as a raven feels ; and a nest of 
field-mice at the foot of the tree interested him far more 
than the sport of the maidens. When he understood this 
he flew down again in a great hurry into the thicket, and 
took the form of a handsome young man — that was the 
best way — and he fell in love with the girl then and there. 
The fair maiden was the daughter of the king of the 
country, and she often wandered in the forest with her 
playfellows gathering the wild flowers and fruits, till 
the midday heat drove the merry band to the shady lawn 
by the brook to rest, or to bathe in the cool waters. On 
this particular morning the fancy took them to wander off 
again into the wood. This was Master RtibezahFs oppor- 
tunity. Stepping out of his hiding-place he stood in the 
midst of the little lawn, weaving his magic spells, till slowly 
all about him changed, and when the maidens returned 
at noon to their favourite resting-place they stood lost in 
amazement, and almost fancied that they must be dream- 
ing. The red rocks had become white marble and 
alabaster ; the stream that murmured and struggled before 
in its rocky bed, flowed in silence now in its smooth 
channel, from which a clear fountain leapt, to fall again 
in showers of diamond drops, now on this side now on 
that, as the wandering breeze scattered it. 

Daisies and forget-me-nots fringed its brink, while 
tall hedges of roses and jasmine ringed it round, making 



28S RUBEZAHL 

the sweetest and daintiest bower imaginable. To the 
right and left of the waterfall opened out a wonderful 
grotto, its walls and arches glittering with many-coloured 
rock crystals, while in every niche were spread out strange 
fruits and sweetmeats, the very sight of which made the 
princess long to taste them. She hesitated awhile, how- 
ever, scarcely able to believe her eyes, and not knowing 
if she should enter the enchanted spot or fly from it. But 
at length curiosity prevailed, and she and her companions 
explored to their hearts' content, and tasted and examined 
everything, running hither and thither in high glee, and 
calling merrily to each other. 

At last, when they were quite weary, the princess cried 
out suddenly that nothing would content her but to bathe 
in the marble pool, which certainly did look very inviting ; 
and they all went gaily to this new amusement. The 
princess was ready first, but scarcely had she slipped over 
the rim of the pool when down — down — down she sank, 
and vanished in its depths before her frightened playmates 
could seize her by so much as a lock of her floating 
golden hair! 

Loudly did they weep and wail, running about the 
brink of the pool, which looked so shallow and so clear, 
but which had swallowed up their princess before their 
eyes. They even sprang into the water and tried to dive 
after her, but in vain ; they only floated like corks in the 
enchanted pool, and could not keep under water for a 
second. 

They saw at last that there was nothing for it but to 
carry to the king the sad tidings of his beloved daughter's 
disappearance. And what great weeping and lamentation 
there was in the palace when the dreadful news was told ! 
The king tore his robes, dashed his golden crown from 
his head, and hid his face in his purple mantle for grief 
and anguish at the loss of the princess. After the first 
outburst of wailing, however, he took heart and hurried 
off to see for himself the scene of this strange adventure, 



RUBEZAHL 289 

thinking, as people will in sorrow, that there might be 
some mistake after all. But when he reached the spot, 
behold, all was changed again! The glittering grotto 
described to him by the maidens had completely 
vanished, and so had the marble bath, the bower of 
jasmine; instead, all was a tangle of flowers, as it had 
been of old. The king was so much perplexed that he 
threatened the princess's playfellows with all sorts of 
punishments if they would not confess something about 
her disappearance ; but as they only repeated the same 
story he presently put down the whole affair to the work 
of some sprite or goblin, and tried to console himself for 
his loss by ordering a grand hunt ; for kings cannot bear 
to be troubled about anything long. 

Meanwhile the princess was not at all unhappy in the 
palace of her elfish lover. 

When the water-nymphs, who were hiding in readiness, 
had caught her and dragged her out of the sight of her 
terrified maidens, she herself had not had time to be 
frightened. They swam with her quickly by strange 
underground ways to a palace so splendid that her 
father's seemed but a poor cottage in comparison with it, 
and when she recovered from her astonishment she found 
herself seated upon a couch, wrapped in a wonderful robe 
of satin fastened with a silken girdle, while beside her 
knelt a young man who whispered the sweetest speeches 
imaginable in her ear. The gnome, for he it was, told 
her all about himself and his great underground kingdom, 
and presently led her through the many rooms and halls 
of the palace, and showed her the rare and wonderful 
things displayed in them till she was fairly dazzled at the 
sight of so much splendour. On three sides of the castle 
lay a lovely garden with masses of gay, sweet flowers, and 
velvet lawns all cool and shady, which pleased the eye 
of the princess. The fruit trees were hung with golden 
and rosy apples, and nightingales sang in every bush, as 
the gnome and the princess wandered in the leafy alleys, 

BR. V 



290 RUBEZAHL 

sometimes gazing at the moon, sometimes pausing to 
gather the rarest flowers for her adornment. And all the 
time he was thinking to himself that never, during the 
hundreds of years he had lived, had he seen so charming 
a maiden. But the princess felt no such happiness ; in 
spite of all the magic delights around her she was sad, 
though she tried to seem content for fear of displeasing 
the gnome. However, he soon perceived her melancholy, 
and in a thousand ways strove to dispel the cloud, but in 
vain. At last he said to himself: 'Men are sociable 
creatures, like bees or ants. Doubtless this lovely mortal 
is pining for company. Who is there I can find for her 
to talk to ? > 

Thereupon he hastened into the nearest field and dug 
up a dozen or so of different roots — carrots, turnips, and 
radishes — and laying them carefully in an elegant basket 
brought them to the princess, who sat pensive in the shade 
of the rose-bower. 

i Loveliest daughter of earth/ said the gnome, 
1 banish all sorrow ; no more shall you be lonely in my 
dwelling. In this basket is all you need to make this 
spot delightful to you. Take this little many-coloured 
wand, and with a touch give to each root the form you 
desire to see.' 

With this he left her, and the princess, without an 
instant's delay, opened the basket, and touching a turnip, 
cried eagerly : i Brunhilda, my dear Brunhilda ! come to 
me quickly!' And sure enough there was Brunhilda, 
joyfully hugging and kissing her beloved princess, and 
chattering as gaily as in the old days. 

This sudden appearance was so delightful that the 
princess could hardly believe her own eyes, and was quite 
beside herself with the joy of having her dear playfellow 
with her once more. Hand in hand they wandered 
about the enchanted garden, and gathered the golden 
apples from the trees, and when they were tired of this 
amusement the princess led her friend through all the 



RUBEZAHL 291 

wonderful rooms of the palace, until at last they came to 
the one in which were kept all the marvellous dresses and 
ornaments the gnome had given to his hoped-for bride. 
There they found so much to amuse them that the hours 
passed like minutes. Veils, girdles, and necklaces were 
tried on and admired, the imitation Brunhilda knew so 
well how to behave herself, and showed so much taste 
that nobody would ever have suspected that she was 
nothing but a turnip after all. The gnome, who had 
secretly been keeping an eye upon them, was very pleased 
with himself for having so well understood the heart of 
a woman ; and the princess seemed to him even more 
charming than before. She did not forget to touch the rest 
of the roots with her magic wand, and soon had all her 
maidens about her, and even, as she had two tiny radishes 
to spare, her favourite cat, and her little dog whose name 
was Beni. 

And now all went cheerfully in the castle. The princess 
gave to each of the maidens her task, and never was 
mistress better served. For a whole week she enjoyed 
the delight of her pleasant company undisturbed. They 
all sang, they danced, they played from morning to night ; 
only the princess noticed that day by day the fresh young 
faces of her maidens grew pale and wan, and the mirror 
in the great marble hall showed her that she alone still 
kept her rosy bloom, while Brunhilda and the rest faded 
visibly. They assured her that all was well with them ; 
but, nevertheless, they continued to waste away, and day 
by day it became harder to them to take part in the 
games of the princess, till at last, one fine morning, when 
the princess started from bed and hastened out to join 
her gay playfellows, she shuddered and started back at 
the sight of a group of shrivelled crones, with bent backs 
and trembling limbs, who supported their tottering steps 
with staves and crutches, and coughed dismally. A 
little nearer to the hearth lay the once frolicsome Beni, 
with all four feet stretched stiffly out, while the sleek 

u2 



292 RUBEZAHL 

cat seemed too weak to raise his head from his velvet 
cushion. 

The horrified princess fled to the door to escape from 
the sight of this mournful company, and called loudly for 
the gnome, who appeared at once, humbly anxious to do 
her bidding. 

1 Malicious Sprite/ she cried, i why do you begrudge me 
my playmates — the greatest delight of my lonely hours ? 
Isn't this solitary life in such a desert bad enough with- 
out your turning the castle into a hospital for the aged ? 
Give my maidens back their youth and health this very 
minute, or I will never love you ! ' 

1 Sweetest and fairest of damsels/ cried the gnome, 
' do not be angry ; everything that is in my power I will 
do — but do not ask the impossible. So long as the sap 
was fresh in the roots the magic staff could keep them in 
the forms you desired, but as the sap dried up they 
withered away. But never trouble yourself about that, 
dearest one, a basket of fresh turnips will soon set matters 
right, and you can speedily call up again every form you 
wish to see. The great green patch in the garden will 
provide you with a more lively company/ 

So saying the gnome took himself off. And the princess 
with her magic wand touched the wrinkled old women, 
and left them the withered roots they really were, to be 
thrown upon the rubbish heap; and with light feet 
skipped off across to the meadow to take possession of the 
freshly filled basket. But to her surprise she could not 
find it anywhere. Up and down the garden she searched, 
spying into every corner, but not a sign of it was to be 
found. By the trellis of grape vines she met the gnome, 
who was so much embarrassed at the sight of her that 
she became aware of his confusion while he was still 
quite a long way off. 

' You are trying to tease me/ she cried, as soon as she 
saw him. < Where have you hidden the basket ? I have 
been looking for it at least an hour/ 



RUBEZAHL 293 

'Dear queen of my heart/ answered he, 'I pray you 
to forgive my carelessness. I promised more than I 
could perform. I have sought all over the land for the 
roots you desire ; but they are gathered in, and lie drying 
in musty cellars, and the fields are bare and desolate, for 
below in the valley winter reigns, only here in your 
presence spring is held fast, and wherever your foot is set 
the gay flowers bloom. Have patience for a little, and 
then without fail you shall have your puppets to play 
with/ 

Almost before the gnome had finished, the disappointed 
princess turned away, and marched off to her own apart- 
ments, without deigning to answer him. 

The gnome, however, set off above ground as speedily 
as possible, and disguising himself as a farmer, bought an 
ass in the nearest market-town, and brought it back 
loaded with sacks of turnip, carrot, and radish seed. 
With this he sowed a great field, and sent a vast army of 
his goblins to watch and tend it, and to bring up the 
fiery rivers from the heart of the earth near enough to 
warm and encourage the sprouting seeds. Thus fostered 
they grew and flourished marvellously, and promised a 
goodly crop. 

The princess wandered about the field day by day, no 
other plants or fruits in all her wonderful garden pleased 
her as much as these roots ; but still her eyes were full of 
discontent. And, best of all, she loved to while away the 
hours in a shady fir-wood, seated upon the bank of a little 
stream, into which she would cast the flowers she had 
gathered and watch them float away. 

The gnome tried hard by every means in his power to 
please the princess and win her love, but little did he 
guess the real reason of his lack of success. He imagined 
that she was too young and inexperienced to care for him ; 
but that was a mistake, for the truth was that another 
image already filled her heart. The young Prince Ratibor, 
whose lands joined her father's, had won the heart of 



294 RUBEZAHL 

the princess ; and the lovers had been looking forward 
to the coming of their wedding-day when the bride's 
mysterious disappearance took place. The sad news 
drove Ratibor distracted, and as the days went on, and 
nothing could be heard of the princess, he forsook his 
castle and the society of men, and spent his days in the 
wild forests, roaming about and crying her name aloud 
to the trees and rocks. Meanwhile, the maiden, in her 
gorgeous prison, sighed in secret over her grief, not wish- 
ing to arouse the gnome's suspicions. In her own mind 
she was wondering if by any means she might escape' 
from her captivity, and at last she hit upon a plan. 

By this time spring once more reigned in the valley, 
and the gnome sent the fires back to their places in 
the deeps of the earth, for the roots which they had 
kept warm through all the cruel winter had now come to 
their full size. Day by day the princess pulled up some 
of them, and made experiments with them, conjuring up 
now this longed-for person, and now that, just for the 
pleasure of seeing them as they appeared ; but she really 
had another purpose in view. 

One day she changed a tiny turnip into a bee, and 
sent him off to bring her some news of her lover. 

' Fly, dear little bee, towards the east,' said she, 'to my 
beloved Ratibor, and softly hum into his ear that I love 
him only, but that I am a captive in the gnome's palace 
under the mountains. Do not forget a single word of 
my greeting, and bring me back a message from my 
beloved.' 

So the bee spread his shining wings and flew away to 
do as he was bidden ; but before he was out of sight a 
greedy swallow made a snatch at him, and to the great 
grief of the princess her messenger was eaten up then 
and there. 

After that, by the power of the wonderful wand she 
summoned a cricket, and taught him this greeting : 

1 Hop, little cricket, to Ratibor, and chirp in his ear 



RUBEZAHL 295 

that I love him only, but that I am held captive by the 
gnome in his palace under the mountains/ 

So the cricket hopped off gaily, determined to do his 
best to deliver his message ; but, alas ! a long-legged stork 
who was prancing along the same road caught him in 
her cruel beak, and before he could say a word he had 
disappeared down her throat. 

These two unlucky ventures did not prevent the 
princess from trying once more. 

This time she changed the turnip into a magpie. 

1 Flutter from tree to tree, chattering bird,' said she, 
' till you come to Eatibor, my love. Tell him that I am 
a captive, and bid him come with horses and men, the 
third day from this, to the hill that rises from the Thorny 
Valley/ 

The magpie listened, hopped awhile from branch to 
branch, and then darted away, the princess watching him 
anxiously as far as she could see. 

Now Prince Eatibor was still spending his life in 
wandering about the woods, and not even the beauty of 
the spring could soothe his grief. 

One day, as he sat in the shade of an oak tree, dreaming 
of his lost princess, and sometimes crying her name aloud, 
he seemed to hear another voice reply to his, and, starting 
up, he gazed around him, but he could see no one, and he 
had just made up his mind that he must be mistaken, 
when the same voice called again, and, looking up sharply, 
he saw a magpie which hopped to and fro among the 
twigs. Then Eatibor heard with surprise that the bird 
was indeed calling him by name. 

'Poor chatterpie/ said he; 'who taught you to say 
that name, which belongs to an unlucky mortal who 
wishes the earth would open and swallow up him and 
his memory for ever ? ' 

Thereupon he caught up a great stone, and would 
have hurled it at the magpie, if it had not at that moment 
uttered the name of the princess. 



296 RUBEZAHL 

This was so unexpected that the prince's arm fell 
helplessly to his side at the sound, and he stood motion- 
less. 

But the magpie in the tree, who, like all the rest of his 
family, was not happy unless he could be for ever chatter- 
ing, began to repeat the message the princess had taught 
him ; and as soon as he understood it, Prince Eatibor's 
heart was filled with joy. All his gloom and misery 
vanished in a moment, and he anxiously questioned the 
welcome messenger as to the fate of the princess. 

But the magpie knew no more than the lesson he had 
learnt, so he soon fluttered away ; while the prince hurried 
back to his castle to gather together a troop of horsemen, 
full of courage for whatever might befall. 

The princess meanwhile was craftily pursuing her 
plan of escape. She left off treating the gnome with 
coldness and indifference ; indeed, there was a look in her 
eyes which encouraged him to hope that she might some 
day return his love, and the idea pleased him mightily. 
The next day, as soon as the sun rose, she made her 
appearance decked as a bride, in the wonderful robes and 
jewels which the fond gnome had prepared for her. Her 
golden hair was braided and crowned with myrtle 
blossoms, and her flowing veil sparkled with gems. In 
these magnificent garments she went to meet the gnome 
upon the great terrace. 

' Loveliest of maidens,' he stammered, bowing low 
before her, 'let me gaze into your dear eyes, and read 
in them that you will no longer refuse my love, but will 
make me the happiest being the sun shines upon.' 

So saying he would have drawn aside her veil; but 
the princess only held it more closely about her. 

1 Your constancy has overcome me/ she said ; ' I can 
no longer oppose your wishes. But believe my words, and 
suffer this veil still to hide my blushes and tears. 5 

'Why tears, beloved one ? ' cried the gnome anxiously; 
' every tear of yours falls upon my heart like a drop of 



RUBEZAHL 297 

molten gold. Greatly as I desire your love, I do not ask 
a sacrifice.' 

' Ah ! ' cried the false princess, ' why do you misunder- 
stand my tears ? My heart answers to your tenderness, 
and yet I am fearful. A wife cannot always charm, and 
though you will never alter, the beauty of mortals is as 
a flower that fades. How can I be sure that you will 
always be as loving and charming as you are now ? ' 

'Ask some proof, sweetheart/ said he. 'Put my 
obedience and my patience to some test by which you 
can judge of my unalterable love.' 

'Be it so/ answered the crafty maiden. 'Then give 
me just one proof of your goodness. Go ! count the 
turnips in yonder meadow. My wedding feast must not 
lack guests. They shall provide me with bride-maidens 
too. But beware lest you deceive me, and do not miss 
a single one. That shall be the test of your truth towards 
me.' 

Unwilling as the gnome was to lose sight of his 
beautiful bride for a moment, he obeyed her commands 
without delay, and hurried off to begin his task. He 
skipped along among the turnips as nimbly as a grass- 
hopper, and had soon counted them all ; but, to be quite 
certain that he had made no mistake, he thought he would 
just run over them again. This time, to his great annoy- 
ance, the number was different ; so he reckoned them for 
the third time, but now the number was not the same 
as either of the previous ones ! And this was hardly to 
be wondered at, as his mind was full of the princess's 
pretty looks and words. 

As for the maiden, no sooner was her deluded lover 
fairly out of sight than she began to prepare for flight. 
She had a fine fresh turnip hidden close at hand, which 
she changed into a spirited horse, all saddled and bridled, 
and, springing upon its back, she galloped away over hill 
and dale till she reached the Thorny Valley, and flung 
herself into the arms of her beloved Prince Ratibor. 



298 BUBEZAHL 

Meanwhile the toiling gnome went through his task 
over and over again till his back ached and his head 
swam, and he could no longer put two and two together ; 
but as he felt tolerably certain of the exact number of 
turnips in the field, big and little together, he hurried 
back eager to prove to his beloved one what a delightful 
and submissive husband he would be. He felt very well 
satisfied with himself as he crossed the mossy lawn to 
the place where he had left her ; but, alas ! she was no 
longer there. 

He searched every thicket and path, he looked behind 
every tree, and gazed into every pond, but without success ; 
then he hastened into the palace and rushed from room 
to room, peering into every hole and corner and calling 
her by name ; but only echo answered in the marble halls 
— there was neither voice nor footstep. 

Then he began to perceive that something was amiss, 
and, -throwing off the mortal form that encumbered him, 
he flew out of the palace, and soared high into the air, and 
saw the fugitive princess in the far distance just as the 
swift horse carried her across the boundary of his 
dominions. 

Furiously did the enraged gnome fling two great 
clouds together, and hurl a thunderbolt after the flying 
maiden, splintering the rocky barriers which had stood a 
thousand years. But his fury was vain, the thunder- 
clouds melted away into a soft mist, and the gnome, 
after flying about for a while in despair, bewailing to the 
four winds his unhappy fate, went sorrowfully back to 
the palace, and stole once more through every room, with 
many sighs and lamentations. He passed through the 
gardens which for him had lost their charm, and the 
sight of the princess's footprints on the golden sand of 
the pathway renewed his grief. All was lonely, empty, 
sorrowful ; and the forsaken gnome resolved that he 
would have no more dealings with such false creatures 
as he had found men to be. 



RUBEZAHL 299 

Thereupon he stamped three times upon the earth, and 
the magic palace, with all its treasures, vanished away 
into the nothingness out of which he had called it 5 and 
the gnome fled once more to the depths of his underground 
kingdom. 

While all this was happening, Prince Ratibor was 
hurrying away with his prize to a place of safety. With 
great pomp and triumph he restored the lovely princess 
to her father, and was then and there married to her, and 
took her back with him to his own castle. 

But long after she was dead, and her children too, the 
villagers would tell the tale of her imprisonment under- 
ground, as they sat carving wood in the winter nights. 

[Volksmdhrchen der Deutschen.] 



STORY OF TEE KIN a WEO WOULD BE 
STRONGER TEAN FATE 

Once upon a time, far away in the east country, there 
lived a king who loved hunting so much that, when once 
there was a deer in sight, he was careless of his own 
safety. Indeed, he often became quite separated from his 
nobles and attendants, and in fact was particularly fond 
of lonely adventures. Another of his favourite amuse- 
ments was to give out that he was not well, and could not 
be seen ; and then, with the knowledge only of his faith- 
ful Grand Wazeer, to disguise himself as a pedlar, load a 
donkey with cheap wares, and travel about. In this way 
he found out what the common people said about him, 
and how his judges and governors fulfilled their duties. 

One daji his queen presented him with a baby 
daughter as beautiful as the dawn, and the king himself 
was so happy and delighted that, for a whole week, he 
forgot to hunt, and spent the time in public and private 
rejoicing. 

Not long afterwards, however, he went out after some 
deer which were to be found in a far corner of his forests. 
In the course of the beat his dogs disturbed a beautiful 
snow-white stag, and directly he saw it the king deter- 
mined that he would have it at any cost. So he put the 
spurs to his horse, and followed it as hard as he could gallop. 
Of course all his attendants followed at the best speed 
that they could manage ; but the king was so splendidly 
mounted, and the stag was so swift, that, at the end of an 
hour, the king found that only his favourite hound and 

300 



STRONGER THAN FATE 301 

himself were in the chase ; all the rest were far, far behind 
and out of sight. 

Nothing daunted, however, he went on and on, till he 
perceived that he was entering a valley with great rocky 
mountains on all sides, and that his horse was getting 
very tired and trembled at every stride.? Worse than all 
evening was already drawing on, and the sun would 
soon set. In vain had he sent arrow after arrow at the 
beautiful stag. Every shot fell short, or went wide of the 
mark ; and at last, just as darkness was setting in, he 
lost sight altogether of the beast J^Ity this time his horse 
could hardly move from fatigue, his hound staggered 
panting along beside him, he was far away amongst 
mountains where he had never been before, and had quite 
missed his way, and not a human creature or dwelling 
was in sight. 

All this was very discouraging, but the king would not 
have minded if he had not lost that beautiful stag. That 
troubled him a good deal, but he never worried over what 
he could not help, so he got down from his horse, slipped 
his arm through the bridle, and led the animal along the 
rough path in hopes of discovering some shepherd's hut, 
or, at least, a cave or shelter under some rock, where he 
might pass the night. 

Presently he heard the sound of rushing water, and 
made towards it. He toiled over a steep, rocky shoulder 
of a hill, and there, just below him, was a stream dashing 
down a precipitous glen, and, almost beneath his feet, 
twinkling and nickering from the level of the torrent, was 
a dim light as of a lamp. Towards this light the king 
with his horse and hound made his way, sliding and 
stumbling down a steep, stony path. At the bottom the 
king found a narrow grassy ledge by the brink of the 
stream, across which the light from a rude lantern in 
the mouth of a cave shed a broad beam of uncertain 
light. At the edge of the stream sat an old hermit with a 
long, white beard, who neither spoke nor moved as the 



302 STRONGER THAN FATE 

king approached, but sat throwing into the stream dry 
leaves which lay scattered about the ground near him. 

' Peace be upon you/ said the king, giving the usual 
country salutation. 

'And upon you peace/ answered the hermit; but still 
he never looked up, nor stopped what he was doing. 

For a minute or two the king stood watching him. 
« ♦He noticed that the hermit threw two leaves in at a time, 
and watched them attentively. Sometimes both were 
carried rapidly down by the stream ; sometimes only one 
leaf was carried off, and the other, after whirling slowly 
round and round on the edge of the current? would come 
circling back on an eddy to the hermit's feet. At other 
times both leaves were held in the backward eddy, and 
failed to reach the main current of the noisy stream. 

' What are you doing ? ' asked the king at last, and 
the hermit replied that he was reading the fates of men ; 
everyone's fate, he said, was settled from the beginning, 
and, whatever it were, there was no escape from it. The 
king laughed. 

' 1 care little/ he said, ' what my fate may be ; but I 
should be curious to know the fate of my little daughter.' 

'I cannot say/ answered the hermit. 

' Do you not know, then ? ' demanded the king. 

'I might know/ returned the hermit, 'but it is not 
always wisdom to know much.' 

But the king was not content with this reply, and 
began to press the old man to say what he knew, which 
for a long time he would not do. At last, however, the 
king urged him so greatly that he said : 

'The king's daughter will marry the son of a poor 
slave-girl called Puruna, who belongs to the king of the 
land of the north. There is no escaping from Pate.' 

The king was wild with anger at hearing these words, 
but he was also very tired; so he only laughed, and 
answered that he hoped there would be a way out of that 
fate anyhow. Then he asked if the hermit could shelter 



STRONGER THAN FATE 303 

him and his beasts for the night, and the hermit said 
' Yes ' ; so, very soon the king had watered and tethered 
his horse, and, after a supper of bread and parched peas, 
lay down in the cave, with the hound at his feet, and 
tried to go to sleep. But instead of sleeping he only lay 
awake and thought of the hermit's prophecy; and the 
more he thought of it the angrier he felt, until he gnashed 
his teeth and declared that it should never, never come 
true. 

Morning came, and the king got up, pale and sulky, 
and, after learning from the hermit which path to take, 
was soon mounted and found his way home without 
much difficulty. Directly he reached his palace he 
wrote a letter to the king of the land of the north, 
begging him, as a favour, to sell him his slave girl 
Puruna and her son, and saying that, if he consented, he 
would send a messenger to receive them at the river 
which divided the kingdoms. 

For five days he awaited the reply, and hardly slept 
or ate, but was as cross as could be all the time. On the 
fifth day his messenger returned with a letter to say that 
the king of the land of the north would not sell, but he 
would give, the king the slave girl and her son. The king 
was overjoyed. He sent for his Grand Wazeer and told 
him that he was going on one of his lonely expeditions, 
and that the Wazeer must invent some excuse to account 
for his absence. Next he disguised himself as an ordinary 
messenger, mounted a swift camel, and sped away to the 
place where the slave girl was to be handed over to him. 
When he got there he gave the messengers who brought 
her a letter of thanks and a handsome present for their 
master and rewards for themselves ; and then without 
delay he took the poor woman and her tiny boy-baby up 
on to his camel and rode off to a wild desert. 

After riding for a day and a night, almost without 
stopping, he came to a great cave where he made the 
woman dismount, and, taking her and the baby into the 



304 STRONGER THAN FATE 

cave, he drew his sword and with one blow chopped her 
head off. But although his anger made him cruel enough 
for anything so dreadful, the king felt that he could not 
turn his great sword on the helpless baby, who he was 
sure must soon die in this solitary place without its 
mother ; so he left it in the cave where it was, and, 
mounting his camel, rode home as fast as he could. 

Now, in a small village in his kingdom there lived an 
old widow who had no children or relations of any kind. 
She made her living mostly by selling the milk of a flock 
of goats ; but she was very, very poor, and not very strong, 
and often used to wonder how she would live if she got 
too weak or ill to attend to her goats. * Every morning 
she drove the goats out into the desert to graze on the 
shrubs and bushes which grew there, and every evening 
they came home of themselves to be milked and to be 
shut up safely for the night. 

One evening the old woman was astonished to find 
that her very best nanny-goat returned without a drop of 
milk. » She thought that some naughty boy or girl was 
playing a trick upon her and had caught the goat on its 
way home and stolen all the milk. But when evening 
after evening the goat remained almost dry she determined 
to find out who the thief was. So the next day she 
followed the goats at a distance and watched them while 
they grazed. At length, in the afternoon, the old woman 
noticed this particular nanny-goat stealing off by herself 
away from the herd and she at once went after her. On 
and on the goat walked for some way, and then disappeared 
into a cave in the rocks. The old woman followed the 
goat into the cave and then, what should she see but the 
animal giving her milk to a little boy-baby, whilst on 
the ground near by lay the sad remains of the baby's dead 
mother! Wondering and frightened, the old woman 
thought at last that this little baby might be a son to her 
in her old age, and that he would grow up and in time to 
come be her comfort and support. So she carried home 



STRONGER THAN FATE 305 

the baby to her hut, and next day she took a spade to the 
cave and dug a grave where she buried the poor mother. 

Years passed by, and the baby grew up into a fine 
handsome lad, as daring as he was beautiful, and as 
industrious as he was brave. # One day, when the boy, 
whom the old woman had named Nur Mahomed, was 
about seventeen years old, he was coming from his day's 
work in the fields, when he saw a strange donkey eating 
the cabbages in the garden which surrounded their little 
cottage. Seizing a big stick, he began to beat the intruder 
and to drive him out of his garden. A neighbour passing 
by called out to him — ' Hi ! I say ! why are you beating 
the pedlar's donkey like that ? ' 

' The pedlar should keep him from eating my cabbages,' 
said Nur Mahomed ; ' if he comes this evening here again 
I'll cut off his tail for him ! ' 

Whereupon he went off indoors, whistling cheerfully. 
It happened that this neighbour was one of those people 
who make mischief by talking too much ; so, meeting the 
pedlar in the ' serai,' or inn, that evening, he told him 
what had occurred, and added : ' Yes ; and the young spit- 
fire said that if beating the donkey would not do, he would 
beat you also, and cut your nose off for a thief ! ' 

A few days later, the pedlar having moved on, two 
men appeared in the- village inquiring who it was who 
had threatened to ill-treat and to murder an innocent 
pedlar. They declared that the pedlar, in fear of his life, 
had complained to the king ;#-and that they had been sent 
to bring the lawless person who had said these things before 
the king himself. Of course they soon found out about 
the donkey eating Nur Mahomed's cabbages, and about 
the young man's hot words ; but although the lad assured 
them that he had never said anything about murdering 
anyone, they replied they were ordered to arrest him, and 
bring him to take his trial before the king. So, in spite 
of his protests, and the wails of his mother, he was 
carried off, and in due time brought before the king. Of 

BR. x 



306 STRONGER THAN FATE 

course Nur Mahomed never guessed that the supposed 
pedlar happened to have been the king himself, although 
nobody knew it. 

But as he was very angry at what he had been told, 
he declared that- he was going to make an example of this 
young man, and intended to teach him that even poor 
travelling pedlars could get justice in his country^ and be 
protected from such lawlessness. However, just as he 
was going to pronounce some very heavy sentence, there 
was a stir in the court, and up came Nur Mahomed's old 
mother, weeping and lamenting, and begging to be heard. 
The king ordered her to speak, and she began to plead 
for the boy, declaring how good he was, and how he was 
the support of her old age, and if he were put in prison 
she would die. The king asked her who she was. She 
replied that she was his mother. 

1 His mother ? ' said the king ; #f you are too old, surely, 
to have so young a son ! ' 

Then the old woman, in her fright and distress, 
confessed the whole story of how she found the baby, and 
how she rescued and brought him up, and ended by 
beseeching the king for mercy. 

It is easy to guess how, as the story came out, the 
king looked blacker and blacker, and more and more 
grim, until at last he was half fainting with rage and 
astonishment. This, then, was the baby he had left to 
die, after cruelly murdering his mother ! Surely fate 
might have spared him this ! He wished he had sufficient 
excuse to put the boy to death, for the old hermit's pro- 
phecy came back to him as strongly as ever ; and yet the 
young man had done nothing bad enough to deserve such 
a punishment. Everyone would call him a tyrant if he 
were to give such an order — in fact, he dared not try it ! 

At length he collected himself enough to say : — ' If 
this young man will enlist in my army I will let him off. 
We have need of such as him, and a little discipline. will 
do him good.' Still the old woman pleaded that she 



STRONGER THAN FATE 307 

could not live without her son, and was nearly as terrified 
at the idea of his becoming a soldier as she was at the 
thought of his being put in prison. But at length the 
king — determined to get the youth into his clutches — 
pacified her by promising her a pension large enough to 
keep her in comfort; and Nur Mahomed, to his own 
great delight, was duly enrolled in the king's army. 

As a soldier Nur Mahomed seemed to be in luck. 
He was rather surprised, but much pleased, to find that 
he was always one of those chosen when any difficult 
or dangerous enterprise was afoot: and, although he had 
the narrowest escapes on some occasions, still, the very 
desperateness of the situations in which he found himself 
gave him special chances of displaying his courage. And 
as he was also modest and generous, he became a favourite 
with his officers and his comrades. 

Thus it was not very surprising that, before very long, 
he became enrolled amongst the picked men of the king's 
bodyguard. The fact is, that the king had hoped to have 
got him killed in some fight or another ; but, seeing that, 
on the contrary, he throve on hard knocks, he was now 
determined to try more direct and desperate methods. 

One day, soon after Nur Mahomed had entered the 
bodyguard, he was selected to be one of the soldiers told 
off to escort the king through the city. The procession 
was marching on quite smoothly, when a man, armed 
with a dagger, rushed out of an alley straight towards the 
king. Nur Mahomed, who was the nearest of the guards, 
threw himself in the way, and received the stab that had 
been apparently intended for the king. Luckily the blow 
was a hurried one, and the dagger glanced on his breast- 
bone, so that, although he received a severe wound, his 
youth and strength quickly got the better of it. The 
king was, of course, obliged to take some notice of this 
brave deed, and as a reward made him one of his own 
attendants. ^ 

After this the strange adventures the young man 

x2 



308 STRONGER THAN FATE 

passed through were endless. Officers of the bodyguard 
were often sent on all sorts of secret and difficult errands, 
and such errands had a curious way of becoming necessary 
when Nur Mahomed was on duty. Once, while he was 
taking a journey, a foot-bridge gave way under him ; once 
he was attacked by armed robbers ; a rock rolled down 
upon him in a mountain pass ; a heavy stone coping fell 
from a roof at his feet in a narrow city alley. Altogether, 
Eur Mahomed began to think that, somewhere or other, 
he had made an enemy ; but he was light-hearted, and 
the thought did not much trouble him. He escaped 
somehow every time,*and felt amused rather than anxious 
about the next adventure. 

It was the custom of that city that the officer for the 
day of the palace guards should receive all his food direct 
from the king's kitchen. One day, when Nur Mahomed's 
turn came to be on duty, he was just sitting down to a 
delicious stew that had been sent in from the palace, when 
one of those gaunt, hungry dogs, which, in eastern coun- 
tries, run about the streets, poked his nose in at the open 
guard-room door, and looked at Nur Mahomed with 
mouth watering and nostrils working. The kind-hearted 
young man picked out a lump of meat, went to the door, 
and threw it outside to him. The dog pounced upon it, 
and gulped it down greedily, and was just turning to go, 
when it staggered, fell, rolled over, and died. Nur 
Mahomed, who had been lazily watching him, stood still 
for a moment, then he came back whistling softly. He 
gathered up the rest of his dinner and carefully wrapped 
it up to carry away and bury somewhere ; and then he 
sent back the empty plates. 

How furious the kiug was when, at the next morning's 
durbar, Nur Mahomed appeared before him fresh, alert, 
and smiling as usual. He was determined, however, to 
try once more, and bidding the young man come into his 
presence that evening, gave orders that he was to carry 
a secret despatch to the governor of a distant province. 



STRONGER THAN FATE 309 

1 Make your preparations at once/ added he, c and be ready 
to start in the morning. I myself will deliver you the 
papers at the last moment.' 

Now this province was four or five days' journey from 
the palace, and the governor of it was the most faithful 
servant the king had. He could be silent as the grave, 
and prided himself on his obedience. Whilst he was an 
old and tried servant of the king's, his wife had been 
almost a mother to the young princess ever since the 
queen had died some years before. It happened that, a 
little before this time, the princess had been sent away 
for her health to another remote province ; and whilst she 
was there her old friend, the governor's wife, had begged 
her to come and stay with them as soon as she could. 

The princess accepted gladly, and was actually staying 
in the governor's house at the very time when the king 
made up his mind to send Nur Mahomed there with the 
mysterious despatch. 

According to orders Nur Mahomed presented himself 
early the next morning at the king's private apartments. 
His best horse was saddled, food placed in his saddle-bag, 
and with some money tied up in his waistband, he was 
ready to start. The king handed over to him a sealed 
packet, desiring him to give it himself only into the hands 
of the governor, and to no one else. Nur Mahomed hid 
it carefully in his turban, swung himself into the saddle, 
and five minutes later rode out of the city gates, and set 
out on his long journey. 

The weather was very hot; but Nur Mahomed 
thought that the sooner his precious letter was delivered 
the better ; so that, by dint of riding most of each night 
and resting only in the hottest part of the day, he found 
himself, by noon on the third day, approaching the town 
which was his final destination. 

Not a soul was to be seen anywhere; and Nur 
Mahomed, stiff, dry, thirsty, and tired, looked longingly 
over the wall into the gardens, and marked the fountains, 



>*5 ™ 

310 STRONGER THAN FATE ' frf\s*~ 

the green grass, the shady apricot orchards, and giant 
mulberry trees, and wished he were there v ' 

At length he reached the castle gates, and was at once 
admitted, as he was in the uniform of the king's body- 
guard. The governor was resting, the soldier said, and 
could not see him until the evening.* So Nur Mahomed 
handed over his horse to an attendant, and wandered 
down into the lovely gardens he had seen from the road, 
and sat down in the shade to rest himself. He flung 
himself ou his back and watched the birds twittering and 
chattering in the trees above him. Through the branches 
he could see great patches of sky where the kites wheeled 
and circled incessantly, with shrill whistling cries. Bees 
buzzed over the flowers with a soothing sound, and in a 
few minutes Nur Mahomed was fast asleep. 

Every day, through the heat of the afternoon, the 
governor, and his wife also, used to lie down for two or 
three hours in their own rooms, and so, for the matter of 
that, did most people in the palace. But the princess, 
like many other girls, was restless, and preferred to 
wander about the garden, rather than rest on a pile of 
soft cushions. What a torment her stout old attendants 
and servants sometimes thought her when she insisted on 
staying awake, and making them chatter or do something, 
when they could hardly keep their eyes open! Some- 
times, however, the princess would pretend to go to sleep, 
and then, after all her women had gladly followed her 
example, she would get up and go out by herself, her veil 
hanging loosely about her. If she was discovered her 
old hostess scolded her severely ; but the princess only 
laughed, and did the same thing next time. 

This very afternoon the princess had left all her 
women asleep, and, after trying in vain to amuse herself 
indoors, she had slipped out into the great garden, and 
rambled about in all her favourite nooks and corners, 
feeling quite safe as there was not a creature to be seen. 
Suddenly, on turning a corner, she stopped in surprise, 



STRONGER THAN FATE 



311 



for before her lay a man fast asleep ! In her hurry she 
had almost tripped over him. But there he was, a young 




nian, tanned and dusty with travel, in the uniform of an 
officer of the king's guard. One of the few faults of 



312 STRONGER THAN FATE 

this lovely princess was a devouring curiosity, and she 
lived such an idle life that she had plenty of time to be 
curious. Out of one of the folds of this young man's 
turban there peeped the corner of a letter ! She wondered 
what the letter was — whom it was for ! She drew her 
veil a little closer, and stole across on tip-toe and caught 
hold of the corner of the letter. Then she pulled it a 
little, and just a little more ! A great big seal came into 
view, which she saw to be her father's, and at the sight 
of it she paused for a minute half ashamed of what she 
was doing. But the pleasure of taking a letter which was 
not meant for her was more than she could resist, and in 
another moment it was in her hand. All at once she 
remembered that it would be death to this poor officer if 
he lost the letter, and that at all hazards she must put it 
back again. But this was not so easy ; and, moreover, the 
letter in her hand burnt her with longing to read it, and 
see what was inside. She examined the seal. It was 
sticky with being exposed to the hot sun, and with a very 
little effort it parted from the paper. The letter was 
open and she read it ! And this was what was written : 
♦ ' Behead the messenger who brings this letter secretly 
and at once. Ask no questions.' 

The girl grew pale. What a shame! she thought. 
She would not let a handsome young fellow like that be 
beheaded ; but how to prevent it was not quite clear at 
the moment. Some plan must be invented, and she 
wished to lock herself in where no one could interrupt 
her, as might easily happen in the garden. So she crept 
softly to her room, and took a piece of paper and wrote 
upon it : ' Marry the messenger who brings this letter to 
the princess openly at once. Ask no questions.' •'And 
even contrived to work the seals off the original letter and 
to fix them to this, so that no one could tell, unless they 
examined it closely, that it had ever been opened. Then 
she slipped back, shaking with fear and excitement, to 
where the young officer still lay asleep, thrust the letter 



STRONGER THAN FATE 313 

into the folds of his turban, and hurried back to her room. 
It was done ! 

Late in the afternoon Nur Mahomed woke, and, making 
sure that the precious despatch was still safe, went off to 
get ready for his audience with the governor. As soon 
as he was ushered into his presence he took the letter 
from his turban and placed it in the governor's hands 
according to orders. When he had read it the governor 
was certainly a little astonished ; but he was told in the 
letter to ( ask no questions/ and he knew how to obey 
orders. He sent for his wife and told her to get the 
princess ready to be married at once. 

1 Nonsense ! ' said his wife, ' what in the world do you 
mean ? ' 

'These are the king's commands/ he answered; 'go 
and do as I bid you. The letter says "at once/' and 
" ask no questions." The marriage, therefore, must take 
place this evening.' 

In vain did his wife urge every objection ; the more 
she argued, the more determined was her husband. ' I 
know how to obey orders/ he said, 'and these are as 
plain as the nose on my face ! ' So the princess was 
summoned, and, somewhat to their surprise, she seemed 
to take the news very calmly ; next Nur Mahomed was 
informed, and he was greatly startled, but of course he 
could but be delighted at the great and unexpected 
honour which he thought the king had done him. Then 
all the castle was turned upside down ; and when the 
news spread in the town, that was turned upside down 
too. Everybody ran everywhere, and tried to do every- 
thing at once; and, in the middle of it all, the old 
governor went about with his hair standing on end, 
muttering something about ' obeying orders.' 

And so the marriage was celebrated, and there was a 
great feast in the castle, and another in the soldiers' 
barracks, and illuminations all over the town and in the 
beautiful gardens. And all the people declared that such 



314 STRONGER THAN FATE 

a wonderful sight had never been seen, and talked about 
it to the ends of their lives. 

The next day the governor despatched the princess 
and her bridegroom to the king, with a troop of horsemen, 
splendidly dressed, and he sent a mounted messenger on 
before them, with a letter giving the account of the marriage 
to the king. 

When the king got the governor's letter, he grew 
so red in the face that everyone thought he was going to 
have apoplexy. They were all very anxious to know 
what had happened, but he rushed off and locked himself 
into a room, where he ramped and raved until he was tired. 
Then, after a while, he began to think he had better make 
the best of it, especially as the old governor had been 
clever enough to send him back his letter, and the king 
was pretty sure that this was in the princess's hand- 
writing. He was fond of his daughter, and though she 
had behaved so badly, he did not wish to cut her head off, 
and he did not want people to know the truth because it 
would make him look foolish. In fact, the more he con- 
sidered the matter, the more he felt that he would be wise to 
put a good face on it, and to let people suppose that he had 
really brought about the marriage of his own free will. 

So, when the young couple arrived, the king received 
them with all state, and gave his son-in-law a province to 
govern. Nur Mahomed soon proved himself as able and 
honourable a governor as he was a brave soldier ; and, 
when the old king died, he became king in his place, and 
reigned long and happily. 

Nur Mahomed's old mother lived for a long time in 
her ' son's ' palace, and died in peace. The princess, his 
wife, although she had got her husband by a trick, found 
that she could not trick him, and so she never tried, but 
busied herself in teaching her children and scolding her 
maids. As for the old hermit, no trace of him was ever 
discovered ; but the cave is there, and the leaves lie thick 
in front of it unto this day. 

[Told the writer by an Indian.] 



STORY OF WALI DAB THE SIMPLE- 
HJEARTED 

Once upon a time there lived a poor old man whose name 
was Wali Dad Gunjay, or Wali Dad the Bald. He had 
no relations, but lived all by himself in a little mud hut 
some distance from any town, and made his living by 
cutting grass in the jungle, and selling it as fodder for 
horses. He only earned by this five halfpence a day ; 
but he was a simple old man, and needed so little out of 
it, that he saved up one halfpenny daily, and spent the 
rest upon such food and clothing as he required. 

In this way he lived for many years until, one night, 
he thought that he would count the money he had hidden 
away in the great earthen pot under the floor of his hut. 
So he set to work, and with much trouble he pulled the 
bag out on to the floor, and sat gazing in astonishment at 
the heap of coins which tumbled out of it. What should 
he do with them all ? he wondered. But he never thought 
of spending the money on himself, because he was con- 
tent to pass the rest of his days as he had been doing for 
ever so long, and he really had no desire for any greater 
comfort or luxury. 

At last he threw all the money into an old sack, which 
he pushed under his bed, and then, rolled in his ragged 
old blanket, he went off to sleep. 

Early next morning he staggered off with his sack of 
money to the shop of a jeweller, whom he knew in the 
town, and bargained with him for a beautiful little gold 

315 



316 WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 

bracelet. With this carefully wrapped up in his cotton 
waistband he went to the house of a rich friend, who 
was a travelling merchant, and used to wander about 
with his camels and merchandise through many coun- 
tries. Wali Dad was lucky enough to find him at home, 
so he sat down, and after a little talk he asked the mer- 
chant who was the most virtuous and beautiful lady he 
had ever met with. The merchant replied that the prin- 
cess of Khaistan was renowned everywhere as well for 
the beauty of her person as for the kindness and gener- 
osity of her disposition. 

'Then/ said Wali Dad, 'next time you go that way, 
give her this little bracelet, with the respectful compli- 
ments of one who admires virtue far more than he desires 
wealth/ 

With that he pulled the bracelet from his waistband, 
and handed it to his friend. The merchant was naturally 
much astonished, but said nothing, and made no objec- 
tion to carrying out his friend's plan. 

Time passed by, and at length the merchant arrived in 
the course of his travels at the capital of Khaistan. As 
soon as he had opportunity he presented himself at the 
palace, and sent in the bracelet, neatly packed in a little 
perfumed box provided by himself, giving at the same 
time the message entrusted to him by Wali Dad. 

The princess could not think who could have bestowed 
this present on her, but she bade her servant to tell the 
merchant that if he would return, after he had finished 
his business in the city, she would give him her reply. 
In a few days, therefore, the merchant came back, and 
received from the princess a return present in the shape 
of a camel-load of rich silks, besides a present of money 
for himself. With these he set out on his journey. 

Some months later he got home again from his jour- 
neyings, and proceeded to take Wali Dad the princess's 
present. Great was the perplexity of the good man 
to find a camel-load of silks tumbled at his door ! 



WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 317 

What was he to do with these costly things ? But, 
presently, after much thought, he begged the merchant 
to consider whether he did not know of some young 
prince to whom such treasures might be useful. 

' Of course/ cried the merchant, greatly amused ; 
'from Delhi to Baghdad, and from Constantinople to 
Lucknow, I know them all ; and there lives none 
worthier than the gallant and wealthy young prince of 
Nekabad.' 

1 Very well, then, take the silks to him, with the bless- 
ing of an old man/ said Wali Dad, much relieved to be 
rid of them. 

So, the next time that the merchant journeyed that 
way he carried the silks with him, and in due course 
arrived at Nekabad, and sought an audience of the prince. 
When he was shown into his presence he produced the 
beautiful gift of silks that Wali Dad had sent, and begged 
the young man to accept them as a humble tribute to his 
worth and greatness. The prince was much touched by 
the generosity of the giver, and ordered, as a return 
present, twelve of the finest breed of horses for which his 
country was famous to be delivered over to the merchant, 
to whom also, before he took his leave, he gave a mu- 
nificent reward for his services. 

As before, the merchant at last arrived at home ; and 
next day, he set out for Wali Dad's house with the twelve 
horses. When the old man saw them coming in the 
distance he said to himself : < Here's luck ! a troop of 
horses coming ! They are sure to want quantities of grass, 
and I shall sell all I have without having to drag it to 
market.' Thereupon he rushed off and cut grass as fast 
as he could. When he got back, with as much grass as 
he could possibly carry, he was greatly discomfited to find 
that the horses were all for himself. At first he could not 
think what to do with them, but, after a little, a brilliant 
idea struck him ! He gave two to the merchant, and 
begged him to take the rest to the princess of Khaistan, 



318 WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 

who was clearly the fittest person to possess such beautiful 
animals. 

The merchant departed, laughing. But, true to his 
old friend's request, he took the horses with him on his 
next, journey, and eventually presented them safely to the 
princess. This time the princess sent for the merchant, 
and questioned him about the giver. Now, the merchant 
was usually a most honest man, but he did not quite like 
to describe Wali Dad in his true light as an old man 
whose income was five halfpence a day, and who had 
hardly clothes to cover him. So he told her that his 
friend had heard stories of her beauty and goodness, and 
had longed to lay the best he had at her feet. The 
princess then took her father into her confidence, and 
begged him to advise her what courtesy she might return 
to one who persisted in making her such presents. 

' Well/ said the king, ' you cannot refuse them ; so 
the best thing you can do is to send this unknown friend 
at once a present so magnificent that he is not likely to 
be able to send you anything better, and so will be ashamed 
to send anything at all ! ' Then he ordered that, in place 
of each of the ten horses, two mules laden with silver 
should be returned by her. 

Thus, in a few hours, the merchant found himself in 
charge of a splendid caravan ; and he had to hire a number 
of armed men to defend it on the road against the robbers, 
and he was glad indeed to find himself back again in 
Wali Dad's hut. 

'Well, now,' cried Wali Dad, as he viewed all the 
wealth laid at his door, ' I can well repay that kind prince 
for his magnificent present of horses ; but to be sure you 
have been put to great expense ! Still, if you will accept 
six mules and their loads, and will take the rest straight 
to Nekabad, I shall thank you heartily.' 

The merchant felt handsomely repaid for his trouble, 
and wondered greatly how the matter would turn out. So 
he made no difficulty about it; and as soon as he could get 



WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 319 

things ready, he set out for Nekabad with this new and 
princely gift. 

This time the prince, too, was embarrassed, and ques- 
tioned the merchant closely. The merchant felt that his 
credit was at stake, and whilst inwardly determining that 
he would not carry the joke any further, could not help 
describing Wali Dad in such glowing terms that the old 
man would never have known himself had he heard them. 
The prince, like the king of Khaistan, determined that he 
would send in return a gift that would be truly royal, and* 
which would perhaps prevent the unknown giver sending 
him anything more. So he made up a caravan of twenty 
splendid horses caparisoned in gold-embroidered cloths, 
with fine morocco saddles and silver bridles and stirrups, 
also twenty camels of the best breed, which had the 
speed of race-horses, and could swing along at a trot all 
day without getting tired ; and, lastly, twenty elephants, 
with magnificent silver howdahs and coverings of silk 
embroidered with pearls. To take care of these animals 
the merchant hired a little army of men; and the troop 
made a great show as they travelled along. 

When Wali Dad from a distance saw the cloud of dust 
which the caravan made, and the glitter of its appoint- 
ments, he said to himself: 'By Allah! here's a grand 
crowd coming! Elephants, too! Grass will be selling 
well to-day ! ' And with that he hurried off to the jungle 
and cut grass as fast he could. As soon as he got 
back he found the caravan had stopped at his door, and 
the merchant was waiting, a little anxiously, to tell him 
the news and to congratulate him upon his riches. 

' Riches ! ' cried Wali Dad, ' what has an old man like 
me with one foot in the grave to do with riches ? That 
beautiful young princess, now ! She'd be the one to enjoy 
all these fine things ! Do you take for yourself two 
horses, two camels, and two elephants, with all their 
trappings, and present the rest to her.' 

The merchant at first objected to these remarks, and 



320 WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 

pointed out to Wali Dad that he was beginning to feel 
these embassies a little awkward. Of course he was him- 
self richly repaid, so far as expenses went ; but still he did 
not like going so often, and he was getting nervous. At 
length, however, he consented to go once more, but he 
promised himself never to embark on another such enter- 
prise. 

So, after a few days' rest, the caravan started off once 
more for Khaistan. 

The moment the king of Khaistan saw the gorgeous 
train of men and beasts entering his palace courtyard, he 
was so amazed that he hurried down in person to inquire 
about it, and became dumb when he heard that these also 
were a present from the princely Wali Dad, and were for 
the princess, his daughter. He went hastily off to her 
apartments, and said to her : ' I tell you what it is, my 
dear, this man wants to marry you ; that is the meaning 
of all these presents ! There is nothing for it but that we 
go and pay him a visit in person. He must be a man of 
immense wealth, and as he is so devoted to yon, perhaps 
you might do worse than marry him ! ' 

The princess agreed with all that her father said, and 
orders were issued for vast numbers of elephants and 
camels, and gorgeous tents and flags, and litters for the 
ladies, and horses for the men, to be prepared without 
delay, as the king and princess were going to pay a visit 
to the great and munificent prince Wali Dad. The 
merchant, the king declared, was to guide the party. 

The feelings of the poor merchant in this sore dilemma 
can hardly be imagined. Willingly would he have run 
away ; but he was treated with so much hospitality as 
Wali Dad's representative, that he hardly got an instant's 
real peace, and never any opportunity of slipping away. 
In fact, after a few days, despair possessed him to such a 
degree that he made up his mind that all that happened 
was fate, and that escape was impossible ; but he hoped 
devoutly some turn of fortune would reveal to him a 



WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 321 

way out of the difficulties which he had, with the best 
intentions, drawn upon himself. 

On the seventh day they all started, amidst thunderous 
salutes from the ramparts of the city, and much dust, and 
cheering, and blaring of trumpets. 

Day after day they moved on, and every day the poor 
merchant felt more ill and miserable. He wondered 
what kind of death the king would invent for him, and 
went through almost as much torture, as he lay awake 
nearly the whole of every night thinking over the situa- 
tion, as he would have suffered if the king's executioners 
were already setting to work upon his neck. 

At last they were only one day's march from Wali 
Dad's little mud home. Here a great encampment 
was made, and the merchant was sent on to tell Wali 
Dad that the king and princess of Khaistan had arrived 
and were seeking an interview. When the merchant 
arrived he found the poor old man eating his evening 
meal of onions and dry bread, and when he told him of 
all that had happened he had not the heart to proceed to 
load him with the reproaches which rose to his tongue. 
For Wali Dad was overwhelmed with grief and shame for 
himself, for his friend, and for the name and honour of 
the princess ; and he wept and plucked at his beard, and 
groaned most piteously. With tears he begged the 
merchant to detain them for one day by any kind of 
excuse he could think of, and to come in the morning to 
discuss what they should do. 

As soon as the merchant was gone Wali Dad made up 
his mind that there was only one honourable way out 
of the shame and distress that he had created by his 
foolishness, and that was — to kill himself. So, without 
stopping to ask anyone's advice, he went off in the 
middle of the night to a place where the river wound 
along at the base of steep rocky cliffs of great height, 
and determined to throw himself down and put an end 
to his life. When he got to the place he drew back 

BR. Y 



322 WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 

a few paces, took a little run, and at the very edge of 
that dreadful black gulf he stopped short ! He could not 
do it ! 

From below, unseen in the blackness of the deep night 
shadows, the water roared and boiled round the jagged 
rocks — he could picture the place as he knew it, only ten 
times more pitiless and forbidding in the visionless dark- 
ness ; the wind soughed through the gorge with fearsome 
sighs, and rustlings and whisperings, and the bushes and 
grasses that grew in the ledges of the cliffs seemed to him 
like living creatures that danced and beckoned, shadowy 
and indistinct. An owl laughed ' Hoo ! hoo ! ' almost in 
his face, as he peered over the edge of the gulf, and the 
old man threw himself back in a perspiration of horror. 
He was afraid ! He drew back shuddering, and covering 
his face in his hands he wept aloud. 

Presently he. was aware of a gentle radiance that shed 
itself before him. Surely morning was not already 
coming to hasten and reveal his disgrace ! He took his 
hands from before his face, and saw before him two lovely 
beings whom his instinct told him were not mortal, but 
were peris from Paradise. 

' Why do you weep, old man ? ' said one, in a voice as 
clear and musical as that of the bulbul. 

' I weep for shame/ replied he. 

' What do you here ? ' questioned the other. 

1 1 came here to die/ said Wali Dad. And as they 
questioned him, he confessed all his story. 

Then the first stepped forward and laid a hand upon 
his shoulder, and Wali Dad began to feel that something 
strange — what, he did not know — was happening to him. 
His old cotton rags of clothes were changed to beauti- 
ful linen and embroidered cloth; on his hard, bare feet 
were warm, soft shoes, and on his head a great jewelled 
turban. Round his neck there lay a heavy golden chain, 
and the little old bent sickle, which he cut grass with, and 
which hung in his waistband, had turned into a gorgeous 




<^flLl DflD AND THE, PEK1S <3> 



GRsssms^b 



WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 325 

scimetar, whose ivory hilt gleamed in the pale light like 
snow in moonlight. As he stood wondering, like a man 
in a dream, the other peri waved her hand and bade him 
turn and see ; and, lo ! before him a noble gateway stood 
open. And up an avenue of giant plane trees the peris led 
him, dumb with amazement. At the end of the avenue, 
on the very spot where his hut had stood, a gorgeous 
palace appeared, ablaze with myriads of lights. Its 
great porticoes and verandahs were occupied by hurrying 
servants, and guards paced to and fro and saluted him 
respectfully as he drew near, along mossy walks and 
through sweeping grassy lawns where fountains were 
playing and flowers scented the air. Wali Dad stood 
stunned and helpless. 

' Fear not/ said one of the peris ; i go to your house, 
and learn that God rewards the simple-hearted/ 

With these words they both disappeared and left him. 
He walked on, thinking still that he must be dreaming. 
Very soon he retired to rest in a splendid room, far 
grander than anything he had ever dreamed of. 

When morning dawned he woke, and found that the 
palace, and himself, and his servants were all real, and 
that he was not dreaming after all ! 

If he was dumfounded, the merchant, who was 
ushered into his presence soon after sunrise, was much 
more so. He told Wali Dad that he had not slept all 
night, and by the first streak of daylight had started to 
seek out his friend. And what a search he had had ! A 
great stretch of wild jungle country had, in the night, been 
changed into parks and gardens ; and if it had not been 
for some of Wali Dad's new servants, who found him and 
brought him to the palace, he would have fled away 
under the impression that his trouble had sent him crazy, 
and that all he saw was only imagination. 

Then Wali Dad told the merchant all that had 
happened. By his advice he sent an invitation to the 
king and princess of Khaistan to come and be his guests, 



326 WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 

together with all their retinue and servants, down to the 
very humblest in the camp. 

For three nights and days a great feast was held in 
honour of the royal guests. Every evening the king and 
his nobles were served on golden plates and from golden 
cups ; and the smaller people on silver plates and from 
silver cups ; and each evening each guest was requested 
to keep the plates and cups that they had used as a 
remembrance of the occasion. Never had anything so 
splendid been seen. Besides the great dinners, there 
were sports and hunting, and dances, and amusements of 
all sorts. 

On the fourth day the king of Khaistan took his host 
aside, and asked him whether it was true, as he had 
suspected, that he wished to marry his daughter. But 
Wali Dad, after thanking him very much for the com- 
pliment, said that he had never dreamed of so great an 
honour, and that he was far too old and ugly for so fair a 
lady ; but he begged the king to stay with him until he 
could send for the prince of Nekabad, who was a most 
excellent, brave, and honourable young man, and would 
surely be delighted to try to win the hand of the beauti- 
ful princess. 

To this the king agreed, and Wali Dad sent the 
merchant to Nekabad, with a number of attendants, and 
with such handsome presents that the prince came at 
once, fell head over ears in love with the princess, and 
married her at Wali Dad's palace amidst a fresh outburst 
of rejoicings. 

And now the king of Khaistan and the prince and 
princess of Nekabad, each went back to their own country ; 
and Wali Dad lived to a good old age, befriending all 
who were in trouble, and preserving, in his prosperity, 
the simple-hearted and generous nature that he had when 
he was only Wali Dad Gun jay, the grass cutter. 

[Told the author by an Indian.] 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND OF A 
MISCHIEVOUS MONKEY 

Once upon a time there was a country where the rivers 
were larger, and the forests deeper, than anywhere else. 
Hardly any men came there, and the wild creatures had 
it all to themselves, and used to play all sorts of strange 
games with each other. The great trees, chained one to 
the other by thick flowering plants with bright scarlet or 
yellow blossoms, were famous hiding-places for the mon- 
keys, who could wait unseen, till a puma or an elephant 
passed by, and then jump on their backs and go for a 
ride, swinging themselves up by the creepers when they 
had had enough. Near the rivers huge tortoises were 
to be found, and though to our eyes a tortoise seems a 
dull, slow thing, it is wonderful to think how clever they 
were, and how often they outwitted many of their livelier 
friends. 

There was one tortoise in particular that always man- 
aged to get the better of everybody, and many were the 
tales told in the forest of his great deeds. They began 
when he was quite young, and tired of staying at home 
with his father and mother. He left them one day, and 
walked off in search of adventures. In a wide open 
space surrounded by trees he met with an elephant, who 
was having his supper before taking his evening bath in 
the river which ran close by. ' Let us see which of us 
two is stronger/ said the young tortoise, marching up to 
the elephant. 'Very well/ replied the elephant, much 

327 



328 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

amused at the impertinence of the little creature ; ' when 
would you like the trial to be ? ' 

1 In an hour's time ; I have some business to do first/ 
answered the tortoise. And he hastened away as fast as 
his short legs would carry him. 

In a pool of the river a whale was resting, blowing 
water into the air and making a lovely fountain. ' The 
tortoise, however, was too young and too busy to admire 
such things, and he called to the whale to stop, as he wanted 
to speak to him. ' Would you like to try which of us is 
the stronger?' said he. The whale looked at him, sent 
up another fountain, and answered : ( Oh, yes ; certainly. 
When do you wish to begin ? I am quite ready.' 

1 Then give me one of your longest bones, and I will 
fasten it to my leg. When I give the signal, you must 
pull, and we will see which can pull the harder.' 

1 Very good,' replied the whale ; and he took out one of 
his bones and passed it to the tortoise. 

The tortoise picked up the end of the bone in his 
mouth and went back to the elephant. ' I will fasten this 
to your leg,' said he, ' in the same way as it is fastened to 
mine, and we must both pull as hard as we can. We 
shall soon see which is the stronger.' So he wound it 
carefully round the elephant's leg, and tied it in a firm 
knot. ' Now ! ' cried he, plunging into a thick bush 
behind him. 

The whale tugged at one end, and the elephant tugged 
at the other, and neither had any idea that he had not 
the tortoise for his foe. When the whale pulled hardest 
the elephant was dragged into the water ; and when the 
elephant pulled the hardest the whale was hauled on to 
the land. They were very evenly matched, and the battle 
was a hard one. 

At last they were quite tired, and the tortoise, who was 
watching, saw that they could play no more. So he 
crept from his hiding-place, and dipping himself in the 
river, he went to the elephant and said : c I see that you 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 329 

really are stronger than I thought. Suppose we give it 
up for to-day ? ' Then he dried himself on some moss and 
went to the whale and said : ( I see that you really are 
stronger than I thought. Suppose we give it up for 
to-day ? ' 

The two adversaries were only too glad to be allowed 
to rest, and believed to the end of their days that, after all, 
the tortoise was stronger than either of them. 

A day or two later the young tortoise was taking a 
stroll, when he met a fox, and stopped to speak to him. 
1 Let us try/ said he in a careless manner, * which of us 
can lie buried in the ground during seven years.' 

1 1 shall be delighted/ answered the fox, ' only I would 
rather that you began.' 

1 It is all the same to me/ replied the tortoise ; l if you 
come round this way to-morrow you will see that I have 
fulfilled my part of the bargain.' 

So he looked about for a suitable place, and found a 
convenient hole at the foot of an orange tree. He crept 
into it, and the next morning the fox heaped up the earth 
round him, and promised to feed him every day with fresh 
fruit. The fox so far kept his word that each morning 
when the sun rose he appeared to ask how the tortoise 
was getting on. ' Oh, very well j but I wish you would 
give me some fruit/ replied he. 

1 Alas ! the fruit is not ripe enough yet for you to eat/ 
answered the fox, who hoped that the tortoise would die 
of hunger long before the seven years were over. 

I Oh dear, oh dear ! I am so hungry ! ' cried the tortoise. 

I I am sure you must be; but it will be all right to. 
morrow/ said the fox, trotting off, not knowing that the 
oranges dropped down the hollow trunk, straight into the 
tortoise's hole, and that he had as many as he could possi- 
bly eat. 

So the seven years went by ; and when the tortoise 
came out of his hole he was as fat as ever. 
Now it was the fox's turn, and he chose his hole, and 



330 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

the tortoise heaped the earth round, promising to return 
every day or two with a nice young bird for his dinner. 
' Well, how are you getting on? ' he would ask cheerfully 
when he paid his visits. 

' Oh, all right ; only I wish you had brought a bird with 
you,' answered the fox. 

1 1 have been so unlucky, I have never been able to 
catch one/ replied the tortoise. ' However, I shall be 
more fortunate to-morrow, I am sure/ 

But not many to-morrows after, when the tortoise 
arrived with his usual question: 'Well, how are you 
getting on ? ' he received no answer, for the fox was lying 
in his hole quite still, dead of hunger. 

By this time the tortoise was grown up, and was 
looked up to throughout the forest as a person to be 
feared for his strength and wisdom. But he was not 
considered a very swift runner, until an adventure with a 
deer added to his fame. 

One day, when he was basking in the sun, a stag 
passed by, and stopped for a little conversation. ' Would 
you care to see which of us can run faster ? ' asked 
the tortoise, after some talk. The stag thought the ques- 
tion so silly that he only shrugged his shoulders. ' Of 
course, the victor would have the right to kill the other/ 
went on the tortoise. 'Oh, on that condition I agree/ 
answered the deer; ' but I am afraid you are a dead man.' 

'It is no use trying to frighten me/ replied the tor- 
toise. ' But I should like three days for training ; then I 
shall be ready to start when the sun strikes on the big 
tree at the edge of the great clearing.' 

The first thing the tortoise did was to call his brothers 
and his cousins together, and he posted them carefully 
under ferns all along the line of the great clearing, mak- 
ing a sort of ladder which stretched for many miles. 
This done to his satisfaction, he went back to the start- 
ing-place. 

The stag was quite punctual, and as soon as the sun's 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 331 

rays struck the trunk of the tree the stag started off, and 
was soon far out of the sight of the tortoise. Every now 
and then he would turn his head as he ran, and call out : 
'How are you getting on?' and the tortoise who hap- 
pened to be nearest at that moment would answer : 
' All right, I am close up to you/ 

Full of astonishment, the stag would redouble his 
efforts, but it was no use. Each time he asked : ' Are you 
there ? ' the answer would come : l Yes, of course, where 
else should I be ? > And the stag ran, and ran, and ran, 
till he could run no more, and dropped down dead on the 
grass. 

And the tortoise, when he thinks about it, laughs still. 

But the tortoise was not the only creature of whose 
tricks stories were told in the forest. There was a famous 
monkey who was just as clever and more mischievous, 
because he was so much quicker on his feet and with his 
hands. It was quite impossible to catch him and give 
him the thrashing he so often deserved, for he just swung 
himself up into a tree and laughed at the angry victim 
who was sitting below. Sometimes, however, the inhabit- 
ants of the forest were so foolish as to provoke him, and 
then they got the worst of it. This was what happened 
to the barber, whom the monkey visited one morning, 
saying that he wished to be shaved. The barber bowed 
politely to his customer, and begging him to be seated, tied 
a large cloth round his neck, and rubbed his chin with soap ; 
but instead of cutting off his beard, the barber made a 
snip at the end of his tail. It was only a very little bit, 
and the monkey started up more in rage than in pain. 
* Give me back the end of my tail,' he roared, ' or I will 
take one of your razors/ The barber refused to give back 
the missing piece, so the monkey caught up a razor from 
the table and ran away with it, and no one in the forest 
could be shaved for days, as there was not another to be 
got for miles and miles. 



332 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

As he was making his way to his own particular 
palm-tree, where the cocoanuts grew, which were so 
useful for pelting passers-by, he met a woman who was 
scaling a fish with a bit of wood, for in this side of the 
forest a few people lived in huts near the river. 

' That must be hard work/ said the monkey, stopping 
to look ; ' try my knife — you will get on quicker/ And he 
handed her the razor as he spoke. A few days later he 
came back and rapped at the door of the hut. ' I have 
called for my razor/ he said, when the woman appeared. 

* I have lost it/ answered she. 

1 If you don't give it to me at once I will take your 
sardine/ replied the monkey, who did not believe her. 
The woman protested she had not got the knife, so he 
took the sardine and ran off. 

A little further along he saw a baker who was stand- 
ing at the door, eating one of his loaves. ' That must be 
rather dry/ said the monkey, ' try my fish ' ; and the man 
did not need twice telling. A few days later the monkey 
stopped again at the baker's hut. ' I've called for that 
fish/ he said. 

'That fish? But I have eaten it!' exclaimed the 
baker in dismay. 

' If you have eaten it I shall take this barrel of meal in 
exchange/ replied the monkey ; and he walked off with 
the barrel under his arm. 

As he went he saw a woman with a group of little 
girls round her, teaching them how to dress hair. ' Here 
is something to make cakes for the children/ he said, 
putting down his barrel, which by this time he found 
rather heavy. The children were delighted, and ran 
directly to find some flat stones to bake their cakes on, 
and when they had made and eaten them, they thought 
they had never tasted anything so nice. Indeed, when 
they saw the monkey approaching not long after, they 
rushed to meet him, hoping that he was bringing them 
some more presents. But he took no notice of their 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 333 

questions, he only said to their mother : ' I've called for 
my barrel of meal.' 

' Why, you gave it to me to make cakes of ! ' cried the 
mother. 

' If I can't get my barrel of meal, I shall take one of 
your children,' answered the monkey. 'I am in want of 
somebody who can bake me bread when I am tired 
of fruit, and who knows how to make cocoanut cakes.' 

1 Oh, leave me my child, and I will find you another 
barrel of meal,' wept the mother. 

'I don't want another barrel, I want that one,' 
answered the monkey sternly. And as the woman stood 
wringing her hands, he caught up the little girl that he 
thought the prettiest and took her to his home in the 
palm tree. 

She never went back to the hut, but on the whole she 
was not much to be pitied, for monkeys are nearly as 
good as children to play with, and they taught her how 
to swing, and to climb, and to fly from tree to tree, and 
everything else they knew, which was a great deal. 

Now the monkey's tiresome tricks had made him 
many enemies in the forest, but no one hated him so 
much as the puma. The cause of their quarrel was known 
only to themselves, but everybody was aware of the fact, 
and took care to be out of the way when there was any 
chance of these two meeting. Often and often the puma 
had laid traps for the monkey, which he felt sure his foe 
could not escape ; and the monkey would pretend that he 
saw nothing, and rejoice the hidden puma's heart by 
seeming to walk straight into the snare, when, lo ! a loud 
laugh would be heard, and the monkey's grinning face 
would peer out of a mass of creepers and disappear before 
his foe could reach him. 

This state of things had gone on for quite a long 
while, when at last there came a season such as the 
oldest parrot in the forest could never remember. Instead 
of two or three hundred inches of rain falling, which they 



334 TALE OF A T OR TO IS E AND A MONKEY 

were all accustomed to, month after mouth passed with- 
out a cloud, and the rivers and springs dried up, till 
there was only one small pool left for everyone to drink 
from. There was not an animal for miles round that did 
not grieve over this shocking condition of affairs, not one 
at least except the puma. His only thought for years 
had been how to get the monkey into his power, and 
this time he imagined his chance had really arrived. He 
would hide himself in a thicket, and when the monkey 
came down to drink — and come he must — the puma 
would spring out and seize him. Yes, on this occasion 
there could be no escape ! 

And no more there would have been if the puma had 
had greater patience ; but in his excitement he moved 
a little too soon. The monkey, who was stooping to 
drink, heard a rustling, and turning caught the gleam of 
two yellow, murderous eyes. With a mighty spring he 
grasped a creeper which was hanging above him, and 
landed himself on the branch of a tree ; feeling the breath 
of the puma on his feet as the animal bounded from his 
cover. Never had the monkey been so near death, and it 
was some time before he recovered enough courage to 
venture on the ground again. 

Up there in the shelter of the trees, he began to turn 
over in his head plans for escaping the snares of the 
puma. And at length chance helped him. Peeping 
down to the earth, he saw a man coming along the path 
carrying on his head a large gourd tilled with honey. 

He waited till the man was just underneath the tree, 
then he hung from a bough, and caught the gourd 
while the man looked up wondering, for he was no tree- 
climber. Then the monkey rubbed the honey all over him, 
and a quantity of leaves from a creeper that was hanging 
close by ; he stuck them all close together into the honey, 
so that he looked like a walking bush. This finished, he 
ran to the pool to see the result, and, quite pleased with 
himself, set out in search of adventures. 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 335 

Soon the report went through the forest that a new 
animal had appeared from no one knew where, and that 
when somebody had asked his name, the strange creature 
had answered that it was Jack-in-the-Green. Thanks to 
this, the monkey was allowed to drink at the pool as often 
as he liked, for neither beast nor bird had the faintest 
notion who he was. And if they made any inquiries the 
only answer they got was that the water of which he had 
drunk deeply had turned his hair into leaves, so that 
they all knew what would happen in case they became 
too greedy. 

By-and-by the great rains began again. The rivers 
and streams filled up, and there was no need for him to 
go back to the pool, near the home of his enemy, the 
puma, as there was a large number of places for him to 
choose from. So one night, when everything was still and 
silent, and even the chattering parrots were asleep on one 
leg, the monkey stole down softly from his perch, and 
washed off the honey and the leaves, and came out from 
his bath in his own proper skin. On his way to breakfast 
he met a rabbit, and stopped for a little talk. 

' I am feeling rather dull,' he remarked ; ' I think it 
would do me good to hunt awhile. What do you say ? ' 

'Oh, I am quite williug,' answered the rabbit, proud 
of being spoken to by such a large creature. ' But the 
question is, what shall we hunt?' 

' There is no credit in going after an elephant or a 
tiger,' replied the monkey, stroking his chin, ' they are so 
big they could not possibly get out of your way. It 
shows much more skill to be able to catch a small thing 
that can hide itself in a moment behind a leaf. I'll tell 
you what ! Suppose I hunt butterflies, and you, serpents.' 

The rabbit, who was young and without experience, 
was delighted with this idea, and they both set out on 
their various ways. 

The monkey quietly climbed up the nearest tree, and 
ate fruit most of the day, but the rabbit tired himself to 



336 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

death poking his nose into every heap of dried leaves he 
saw, hoping to find a serpent among them. Luckily for 
himself the serpents were all away for the afternoon, at 
a meeting of their own, for there is nothing a serpent likes 
so well for dinner as a nice plump rabbit. But, as it was, 
the dried leaves were all empty, and the rabbit at last fell 
asleep where he was. Then the monkey, who had been 
watching him, fell down and pulled his ears, to the rage 
of the rabbit, who vowed vengeance. 

It was not easy to catch the monkey off his guard, and 
the rabbit waited long before an opportunity arrived. 
But one day Jack-in-the-Green was sitting on a stone, 
wondering what he should do next, when the rabbit 
crept softly behind him, and gave his tail a sharp pull. 
The monkey gave a shriek of pain, and darted up into a 
tree, but when he saw that it was only the rabbit who had 
dared to insult him so, he chattered so fast in his anger, 
and looked so fierce, that the rabbit fled into the nearest 
hole, and stayed there for several days, trembling with 
fright. 

Soon after this adventure the monkey went away into 
another part of the country, right on the outskirts of the 
forest, where there was a beautiful garden full of oranges 
hanging ripe from the trees. This garden was a favourite 
place for birds of all kinds, each hoping to secure an 
orange for dinner, and in order to frighten the birds 
away and keep a little fruit for himself, the master had 
fastened a waxen figure on one of the boughs. 

Now the monkey was as fond of oranges as any of the 
birds, and when he saw a man standing in the tree where 
the largest and sweetest oranges grew, he spoke to him at 
once. 'You man/ he said rudely, 'throw me down that 
big orange up there, or I will throw a stone at you.' The 
wax figure took no notice of this request, so the monkey, 
who was easily made angry, picked up a stone, and flung 
it with all his force. But instead of falling to the ground 
again, the stone stuck to the soft wax. 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 337 

At this moment a breeze shook the tree, and the 
orange on which the monkey had set his heart dropped 
from the bough. He picked it up and ate it every bit, 
including the rind, and it was so good he thought he 
should like another. So he called again to the wax 
figure to throw him an orange, and as the figure did not 
move, he hurled another stone, which stuck to the wax 
as the first had done. Seeing that the man was quite 
indifferent to stones, the monkey grew more angry still, 
and climbing the tree hastily, gave the figure a violent 
kick. But like the two stones his leg remained stuck to 
the wax, and he was held fast. * Let me go at once, or I 
will give you another kick/ he cried, suiting the action to 
the word, and this time also his foot remained in the 
grasp of the man. Not knowing what he did, the monkey 
hit out, first with one hand and then with the other, and 
when he found that he was literally bound hand and foot, 
he became so mad with anger and terror that in his 
struggles he fell to the ground, dragging the figure after 
him. This freed his hands and feet, but besides the shock 
of the fall, they had tumbled into a bed of thorns, and he 
limped away broken and bruised, and groaning loudly ; 
for when monkeys are hurt, they take pains that every- 
body shall know it. 

It was a long time before Jack was well enough to go 
about again ; but when he did, he had an encounter with 
his old enemy the puma. And this was how it came 
about. 

One day the puma invited his friend the stag to go 
with him and see a comrade, who was famous for the 
good milk he got from his cows. The stag loved milk, 
and gladly accepted the invitation, and when the sun 
began to get a little low the two started on their walk. 
On the way they arrived on the banks of a river, and as 
there were no bridges in those days it was necessary to 
swim across it. The stag was not fond of swimming, and 
began to say that he was tired, and thought that after all 

BR. Z 



338 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

it was not worth going so far to get milk, and that he 
would return home. But the puma easily saw through 
these excuses, and laughed at him. 

1 The river is not deep at all/ he said ; e why, you will 
never be off your feet. Come, pluck up your courage 
and follow me.' 

The stag was afraid of the river ; still, he was much 
more afraid of being laughed at, and he plunged in after 
the puma ; but in an instant the current had swept him 
away, and if it had not borne him by accident to a shallow 
place on the opposite side, where he managed to scramble 
up the bank, he would certainly have been drowned. As 
it was, he scrambled out, shaking with terror, and found 
the puma waiting for him. ' You had a narrow escape 
that time/ said the puma. 

After resting for a few minutes, to let the stag recover 
from his fright, they went on their way till they came to 
a grove of bananas. 

'They look very good/ observed the puma, with a 
longing glance, ' and I am sure you must be hungry, 
friend stag ? Suppose you were to climb the tree and get 
some. You shall eat the green ones, they are the best 
and sweetest 5 and you can throw the yellow ones down 
to me. I daresay they will do quite well ! ' The stag 
did as he was bid, though, not being used to climbing, it 
gave him a deal of trouble and sore knees, and, besides, 
his horns were continually getting entangled in the 
creepers. What was worse, when once he had tasted the 
bananas, he found them not at all to his liking, so he threw 
them all down, green and yellow alike, and let the puma 
take his choice. And what a dinner he made ! When 
he had quite done, they set forth once more. 

The path lay through a field of maize, where several 
men were working. As they came up to them, the puma 
whispered : ' Go on in front, friend stag, and just say 
" Bad luck to all workers ! " ' The stag obeyed, but the 
men were hot and tired, and did not think this a good 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 339 

joke. So they set their dogs at him, and he was obliged 
to run away as fast as he could. 

'I hope your industry will be rewarded as it deserves/ 
said the puma, as he passed along; and the men were 
pleased, and offered him some of their maize to eat. 

By-and-by the puma saw a small snake with a beau- 
tiful shining skin, lying coiled up at the foot of a tree. 
'What a lovely bracelet that would make for your 
daughter, friend stag!' said he. The stag stooped and 
picked up the snake, which bit him, and he turned angrily 
to the puma. ' Why did you not tell me it would bite ? ' 
he asked. 

1 Is it my fault if you are an idiot ? ' replied the puma. 

At last they reached their journey's end, but by this 
time it was late, and the puma's comrade was ready for 
bed, so they slung their hammocks in convenient places, 
and went to sleep. But in the middle of the night the 
puma rose softly and stole out of the door to the sheep- 
fold, where he killed and ate the fattest sheep he could 
find, and taking a bowl full of its blood, he sprinkled the 
sleeping stag with it. This done, he returned to bed. 

In the morning the shepherd went as usual to let the 
sheep out of the fold, and found one of them missing. He 
thought directly of the puma, and ran to accuse him of 
having eaten the sheep. 'I, my good man? What has 
put it into your head to think of such a thing ? Have 1 
got any blood about me ? If anyone has eaten a sheep it 
must be my friend the stag.' Then the shepherd went to 
examine the sleeping stag, and of course he saw the blood. 
' Ah ! I will teach you how to steal ! ' cried he, and he 
hit the stag such a blow on his skull that he died in a 
moment. The noise awakened the comrade above, and he 
came downstairs. The puma greeted him with joy, and 
begged he might have some of the famous milk as soon as 
possible, for he was very thirsty. A large bucket was set 
before the puma directly. He drank it to the last drop, 

and then took leave. 

z2 



340 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

On his way home he met the monkey. i Are you 
fond of milk ? ' asked he. ( I know a place where you get 
it very nice. I will show you it if you like/ The monkey 
knew that the puma was not so good-natured for nothing, 
but he felt quite able to take care of himself, so he said he 
should have much pleasure in accompanying his friend. 

They soon reached the same river, and, as before, the 
puma remarked : ' Friend monkey, you will find it very 
shallow ; there is no cause for fear. Jump in, and I will 
follow.' 

1 Do you think you have the stag to deal with ? ' asked 
the monkey, laughing. ' I should prefer to follow ; if 
not I' shall go no further.' The puma understood that 
it was useless trying to make the monkey do as he wished, 
so he chose a shallow place and began to swim across. 
The monkey waited till the puma had got to the middle, 
then he gave a great spring and jumped on his back, 
knowing quite well that the puma would be afraid to 
shake him off, lest he should be swept away into deep 
water. So in this manner they reached the bank. 

The banana grove was not far distant, and here the 
puma thought he would pay the monkey out for forcing 
him to carry him over the river. ' Friend monkey, look 
what fine bananas ! ' cried he. ' You are fond of climbing 5 
suppose you run up and throw me down a few. You can 
eat the green ones, which are the nicest, and I will be 
content with the yellow.' 

1 Very well/ answered the monkey, swinging himself up ; 
but he ate all the yellow ones himself, and only threw 
down the green ones that were left. The puma was furi- 
ous and cried out: 'I will punch your head for that.' 
But the monkey only answered : ' If you are going to 
talk such nonsense I won't walk with you.' And the 
puma was silent. 

In a few minutes more they arrived at the field where 
the men were reaping the maize, and the puma remarked 
as he had done before : ' Friend monkey, if you wish to 



TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 341 

please these men, just say as you go by : " Bad luck to all 
workers." } 

'Very well/ replied the monkey; but, instead, he 
nodded and smiled, and said: 'I hope your industry may 
be rewarded as it deserves.' The men thanked him 
heartily, let him pass on, and the puma followed behind 
him. 

Further along the path they saw the shining snake 
lying on the moss. 'What a lovely necklace for your 
daughter/ exclaimed the puma. ' Pick it up and take it 
with you.' 

'You are very kind, but I will leave it for you/ 
answered the monkey, and nothing more was said about 
the snake. 

Not long after this they reached the comrade's house, 
and found him just ready to go to bed. So, without stop- 
ping to talk, the guests slung their hammocks, the monkey 
taking care to place his so high that no one could get at 
him. Besides, he thought it would be more prudent not 
to fall asleep, so he only lay still and snored loudly. 
When it was quite dark and no sound was to be heard, 
the puma crept out to the sheep-fold, killed the sheep, 
and carried back a bowl full of its blood with which to 
sprinkle the monkey. But the monkey, who had been 
watching him out of the corner of his eye, waited until 
the puma drew near, and with a violent kick upset the 
bowl all over the puma himself. 

When the puma saw what had happened, he turned 
in a great hurry to leave the house, but before he could do 
so, he saw the shepherd coming, and hastily lay down 
again. 

'This is the second time I have lost a sheep/ the man 
said to the monkey ; ' it will be the worse for the thief 
when I catch him, I can tell you.' The monkey did not 
answer, but silently pointed to the puma, who was pre- 
tending to be asleep. The shepherd stooped and saw the 
blood, and cried out: 'Ah! so it is you, is it? then 



342 TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 

take that ! ' and with his stick he gave the puma such a 
blow on the head that he died then and there. 

Then the monkey got up and went to the dairy, and 
drank all the milk he could find. Afterwards he returned 
home and married, and that is the last we heard of him. 

[Adapted from Folk-lore Bresilien.] 



THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 

Once upon a time there lived an old cobbler who 
worked hard at his trade from morning till night, and 
scarcely gave himself a moment to eat. But, industrious 
as he was, he could hardly buy bread and cheese for 
himself and his wife, and they grew thinner and thinner 
daily. 

For a long while they pretended to each other that 
they had no appetite, and that a few blackberries from 
the hedges were a great deal nicer than a good strong 
bowl of soup. But at length there came a day when 
the cobbler could bear it no longer, and he threw away 
his last, and borrowing a rod from a neighbour he went 
out to fish. 

Now the cobbler was as patient about fishing as he 
had been about cobbling. From dawn to dark he stood 
on the banks of the little stream, without hooking any- 
thing better than an eel, or a few old shoes, that even 
he, clever though he was, felt were not worth mending. 
At length his patience began to give way, and as he 
undressed one night he said to himself: 'Well, I will 
give it one more chance ; and if I don't catch a fish to- 
morrow, I will go and hang myself/ 

He had not cast his line for ten minutes the next 
morning before he drew from the river the most beautiful 
fish he had ever seen in his life. But he nearly fell into 
the water from surprise, when the fish began to speak to 
him, in a small, squeaky voice : 

1 Take me back to your hut and cook me ; then cut 
me up, and sprinkle me over with pepper and salt. Give 

343 



344 THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 

two of the pieces to your wife, and bury two more in the 
garden.' 

The cobbler did not know what to make of these 
strange words ; but he was wiser than many people, and 
when he did not understand, he thought it was well to 
obey. A His children wanted to eat all the fish themselves, 
and begged their father to tell them what to do with the 
pieces he had put aside ; but the cobbler only laughed, 
and told them it was no business of theirs. And when 
they were safe in bed he stole out and buried the two 
pieces in the garden. 

By and by two babies, exactly alike, lay in a cradle, 
and in the garden were two tall plants, with two brilliant 
shields on the top. 

Years passed away, and the babies were almost men. 
They were tired of living quietly at home, being mistaken 
for each other by everybody they saw, and determined 
to set off in different directions, to seek adventures. 

So, one fine morning, the two brothers left the hut, 
and walked together to the place where the great road 
divided. There they embraced and parted, promising 
that if anything remarkable had happened to either, 
he* would return to the cross roads and wait till his 
brother came. 

The youth who took the path that ran eastwards 
arrived presently at a large city, where he found every- 
body standing at the doors, wringing their hands and 
weeping bitterly. 

' What is the matter ? ' asked he, pausing and looking 
round. And a man replied, in a faltering voice, that each 
year a beautiful girl was chosen by lot to be offered up 
to a dreadful fiery dragon, who had a mother even worse 
than himself, and this year the lot had fallen on their 
peerless princess. 

' But where is the princess ? ' said the young man 
once more, and again the man answered him : ' She 



\ 

THE KINGHTS OF THE FISH 345 

is standing under a tree, a mile away, waiting for the 
dragon.' 

This time the Knight of the Pish did not stop to hear 
more, but ran off as fast as he could, and found the 
princess bathed in tears, and trembling from head to foot. 

She turned as she heard the sound of his sword, and 
removed her handkerchief from her eyes. 

1 Fly/ she cried ; ' fly while you have yet time, 
before that monster sees you/ 

She said it, and she meant it ; yet, when he had 
turned his back, she felt more forsaken than before. But 
in reality it was not more than a few minutes before he 
came back, galloping furiously on a horse he had borrowed, 
and carrying a huge mirror across its neck. 

'I am in time, then!" he cried, dismounting very 
carefully, and placing the mirror against the trunk of a 
tree. 

1 Give me your veil/ he said hastily to the princess. 
And when she had unwound* it from her head he covered 
the mirror with it. 

' The moment the dragon comes near you, you must 
tear off the veil/ cried he ; l and be sure you hide behind 
the mirror. Have no fear ; I shall be at hand/ 

He and his horse had scarcely found shelter amongst 
some rocks, when the flap of the dragon's wings could be 
plainly heard. He tossed his head with delight at the 
sight of her, and approached slowly to the place where 
she stood, a little in front of J;he mirror. -iThen, still 
looking the monster steadily in the face, she passed one 
hand behind her back and snatched off the veil, stepping 
swiftly behind the tree as she did so. 

The princess had not known, when she obeyed the orders 
of the Knight of the Fish, what she expected to happen. 
Would the dragon with snaky locks be turned to stone, she 
wondered, like the dragon in an old story her nurse had 
told her; or would some fiery spark dart from the heart 
of the mirror, and strike him dead ? Neither of these 



346 THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 

things occurred, but, instead, the dragon stopped short 
with surprise and rage when he saw a monster before 
him as big and strong as himself. He shook his mane 
with rage and fury ; the enemy in front did exactly the 
same. He lashed his tail, and rolled his red eyes, and the 
dragon opposite was no whit behind him. Opening his 
mouth to its very widest, he gave an awful roar; but 
the other dragon only roared back. This was too much, 
and with another roar which made the princess shake in 
her shoes, he flung himself upon his foe. In an instant 
the mirror lay at his feet broken into a thousand pieces, 
but as every piece reflected part of himself, the dragon 
thought that he too had been smashed into atoms. 

It was the moment for which the Knight of the Pish 
had watched and waited, and before the dragon could 
find out that he was not hurt at all, the young man's 
lance was down his throat, and he was rolling, dead, on 
the grass. 

Oh ! what shouts of joy rang through the great city, 
when the youth came riding back with the princess sitting 
behind him, and dragging the horrible monster by a cord. 
Everybody cried out that the king must give the victor 
the hand of the princess ; and so he did, and no one had 
ever seen such balls and feasts and sports before. And 
when they were all over the young couple went to the 
palace prepared for them, which was so large that it was 
three miles round. 

The first wet day after their marriage the bridegroom 
begged the bride to show him all the rooms in the palace, 
and it was so big and took so long that the sun was shin- 
ing brightly again before they stepped on to the roof to 
see the view. 

' What castle is that out there ? ' asked the knight ; 
' it seems to be made of black marble.' 

'It is called the castle of Albatroz,' answered the 
princess. ' It is enchanted, and no one that has tried to 
enter it has ever come back.' 



THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 347 

Her husband said nothing, and began to talk of some- 
thing else ; but the next morning he ordered his horse, 
took his spear, called his bloodhound, and set off for the 
castle. 

It needed a brave man to approach ilMor it made your 
hair stand on end merely to look at it ; it was as dark as 
the night of a storm, and as silent as the grave. But the 
Knight of the Fish knew no fear, and had never turned 
his back on an enemy; so he drew out his horn, and blew 
a blast. 

The sound awoke all the sleeping echoes in the castle, 
and was repeated now loudly, now softly ; now near, and 
now far. But nobody stirred for all that. 
y\ ' Is there anyone inside ?' cried the young man in his 
loudest voice ; ' anyone who will give a knight hospital- 
ity ? Neither governor, nor squire, not even a page ? y 

'Not even a page!' answered the echoes. But the 
young man did not heed them, and only struck a furious 
blow at the gate. 

Then a small grating opened, and there appeared the 
tip of a huge nose, which belonged to the ugliest old 
woman that ever was seen. 

1 What do you want ? ' said she. 

' To enter/ he answered shortly. ' Can I rest here this 
night ? Yes orNo?' 

' No, No, No ! ' repeated the echoes. 

Between the fierce sun and his anger at being kept 
waiting, the Knight of the Fish had grown so hot that he 
lifted his visor, and when the old woman saw how hand- 
some he was, she began fumbling with the lock of the 
gate. 

' Come in, come in/ said she, ' so fine a gentleman will 
do us no harm.' 

' Harm ! } repeated the echoes, but again the young man 
paid no heed. 

1 Let us go in, ancient dame/ but she interrupted him. 

' You must call me the Lady Berberisca/ she answered, 



348 THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 

sharply ; { and this is iny castle, to which I bid you wel- 
come. You shall live here with me and be my husband.' 
But at these words the knight let his spear fall, so sur- 
prised was he. 

' I marry you ? why you must be a hundred at least ! ' 
cried he. ' You are mad ! All I desire is to inspect the 
castle and then go.' As he spoke he heard the voices 
give a mocking laugh ; but the old woman took no notice, 
and only bade the knight follow her. 

Old though she was, it seemed impossible to tire her. 
There was no room, however small, she did not lead him 
into, and each room was full of curious things he had 
never seen before. 

At length they came to a stone staircase, which was so 
dark that you could not see your hand if you held it up 
before your face. 

1 1 have kept my most precious treasure till the last/ 
said the old woman ; ' but let me go first, for the stairs 
are steep, and you might easily break your leg/ So on 
she went, now and then calling back to the young man 
in the darkness. But he did not know that she had 
slipped aside into a recess, till suddenly he put his foot 
on a trap door which gave way under him, and he fell 
down, down, as many good knights had done before him, 
and his voice joined the echoes of theirs. 

' So you would not marry me ! ' chuckled the old witch. 
<Ha!ha! Ha! ha!' 

Meanwhile his brother had wandered far and wide, 
and at last he wandered back to the same great city 
where the other young knight had met with so many 
adventures, a He noticed, with amazement, that as he 
walked through the streets the guards drew themselves 
up in line, and saluted him, and the drummers played 
the royal march ; but he was still more bewildered when 
several servants in livery ran up to him and told him 
that the princess was sure something terrible had befallen 



THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 349 

him, and had made herself ill with weeping. At last it 
occurred to him that once more he had been taken for his 
brother. 1 1 had better say nothing/ thought he ; ' perhaps 
I shall be able to help him after all.' 

So he suffered himself to be borne in triumph to the 
palace, where the princess threw herself into his arms. 

' And so you did go to the castle ? ' she asked. 

' Yes, of course I did/ answered he. 

' And what did you see there ? ' 

f I am forbidden to tell you anything about it, until 
I have returned there once more/ replied he. 

1 Must you really go back to that dreadful place ? ' she 
asked wistfully. ' You are the only man who has ever 
come back from it.' 

' I must/ was all he answered. And the princess, who 
was a wise woman, only said: 'Well, go to bed now, 
for I am sure you must be very tired/ 

But the knight shook his head. ' I have sworn never 
to lie in a bed as long as my work in the castle remains 
standing.' And the princess again sighed, and was silent. 

Early next day the young man started for the castle, 
feeling sure that some terrible thing must have happened 
to his brother. 
^ /\ At the blast of his horn the long nose of the old woman 
appeared at the grating, but the moment she caught sight 
of his face, she nearly fainted from fright, as she thought 
it was the ghost of the youth whose bones were lying in 
the dungeon of the castle. 

< Lady of all the ages/ cried the new comer, ' did you 
not give hospitality to a young knight but a short time 
ago ?' 

' A short time ago ! ' wailed the voices. 

c And how have you ill-treated him ? ' he went on. 

'Ill-treated him!' answered the voices. The woman 
did not stop to hear more; she turned to fly; but the 
knight's sword entered her body. 

' Where is my brother, cruel hag ? ' asked he sternly. 



350 THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 

i I will tell you/ said she ; ' but as I feel that I am 
going to die I shall keep that piece of news to myself, 
till you have brought me to life again/ 

The young man laughed scornfully. 'How do you 
propose that I should work that miracle ? ' 

1 Oh, it is quite easy. Go into the garden and gather 
the flowers of the everlasting plant and some of dragon's 
blood. Crush them together and boil them in a large 
tub of water, and then put me into it/ 

The knight did as the old witch bade him, and, sure 
enough, she came out quite whole, but uglier than ever. 
She then told the young man what had become of his 
brother, and he went down into the dungeon, and brought 
up his body and the bodies of the other victims who lay 
there, and when they were all washed in the magic water 
their strength was restored to them. 

And, besides these, he found in another cavern the 
bodies of the girls who had been sacrificed to the dragon, 
and brought them back to life also. 

As to the old witch, in the end she died of rage at 
seeing her prey escape her ; and at the moment she drew 
her last breath the castle of Albatroz fell into ruins with 
a great noise. 

[From Cuentos, Oracionea, Adivinas recogidos por Fernan Caballaro.'] 



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